XDiseases.com - Parkinson’s disease is a gradual degeneration of nerve cells in the middle brain which regulates body movement. The symptoms that are widely known are the occurrence of tremors or trembling. While the initial symptoms are usually difficult to recognize. Everyone can get this disease, but most occurs among older people and tends to occur to men.
Parkinson’s Disease Causes
Parkinson’s disease is caused by reduced dopamine in the brain. It causes the activity cannot function normally. The cause of dopamine decline until now has not been known. Some factors that can trigger dopamine decline are:
- Heredity. Certain genetic mutations can cause an increased risk of developing this disease
- Environmental factor. Exposure to certain poisons in the environment such as pesticides, herbicides, motor vehicle fumes, and factory pollution can also increase the risk
There are some other factors that cause the emergence of the main symptoms of this disease such as tremors, stiff muscles, and slowing of movement. However, these factors only cause Parkinson’s symptoms and do not mean that people who experience it suffer from Parkinson’s disease.
- Side effects of drugs
- Other progressive brain disorders
Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
Initially, the symptoms appear quite mild and may be overlooked. But these symptoms will gradually worsen. There are several common Parkinson’s disease symptoms such as:
- Tremor (trembling that cannot be controlled). This symptom appears on one part of the body, especially the hands and fingers
- Bradykinesia or slowing down movement. After a while, This disease will reduce the coordination of your body movements and make it slower like a shorter step when walking and difficulty getting up from the seat
- Muscle rigidity. The large and small muscles become stiff or tense
- Balance disorders. Patients will experience a balance disorder so it is riskier to fall
- Loss of automatic motion capability. The example of this symptom is blinking eyes and swinging hands when walking
- Changes in how to talk. How to talk can be soft, faster, unclear, or feel hesitant before talking
- Difficulty in writing. Patients will have difficulty writing and their writing will smaller than usual
- Depression and anxiety attacks. Because there is no cure for this disease, this condition can make the patient feel depressed and worried about his future
- Dementia. The personality can change and even experience delusions and hallucinations
- Loss of sense of smell
- Urinary incontinence
- Sensory disorder
- Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing food)
- Erectile dysfunction
- Excessive sweat and saliva production
- Dizziness, blurred vision, until fainting
The treatment is focused on relieving symptoms and keeps the patient to stay as active as possible. Until now, there is no cure for this disease completely. There are some treatments that you can do to relieve the symptoms worsen.
The following are some of the recommended therapies to help relieve symptoms.
- Physiotherapy. This therapy helps patients to overcome muscle stiffness as well as pain in the joints when moving. This therapy will train your abilities and stamina. So, the patients can do activities without relying on others
- Food menu changes. One symptom of this disease is constipation. This condition can be reduced by consuming more water and high fiber foods
- Speech therapy. If needed, speech therapists can help improve speech
The main symptoms, such as tremors and disturbances in body movements, can be reduced by medication. The following are the usual medicines given:
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- Levodopa. This drug is absorbed by nerve cells in the brain and converted into dopamine chemical compounds. It helps to overcome body movement disorders. Another type of levodopa drug used to treat mood disorders is Duodopa
- Dopamine agonist. This drug functions to replace dopamine like levodopa. However, Dopamine agonists are commonly used in the early stages because side effects are not as strong as levodopa. There is dopamine agonist in the form of an injection called apomorphine. It is given to advanced patients by being combined with levodopa
- Monoamine oxidase-b inhibitors (MAO-B). This drug functions to inhibit brain chemical compounds that destroy dopamine
- Catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibitor (COMT). This drug inhibits an enzyme that destroys levodopa and makes it easier to reach the brain’s nerves
This operation is known as deep brain stimulation which works by stimulating parts of the brain that are disturbed. Surgery is only recommended if treatment with drugs in Parkinson’s disease cannot relieve symptoms that appear.
Gamma Knife Therapy
If surgery is not possible, one of the possible therapies is gamma knife therapy. This therapy uses very strong radiation rays. It is targeted directly to the point needed using a special helmet.