A bird’s eye view on the disease
Parkinson’s disease is familiar to most of us, in the form of a weak fragile hand of an old person, shaking continuously. The picture gives us only a partial view. True that the condition affects mostly elders, but it is seen in youngsters too (Parkinson’s early signs). The main feature of Parkinson’s disease is uncontrollable shivering or tremors. But there are other signs and symptoms of the condition and the probability of serious complications. As we all know, Parkinson’s disease affects both nerves and muscles. Muscles that we move with our will are mostly affected and the person finds it difficult to do daily chores. At first, the shivering may be mild, but over time the condition gets worse and the person may need help for eating, bathing, or dressing up. Being the second commonest neurodegenerative disorder in the world, Parkinson’s disease makes the affected person’s activities uncontrollable and ineffective. Other than shivering, stiffness, pain and weakness may be present. In later stages, severe complications can also develop.
Early signs and symptoms
- In the majority of cases, an unintentional tremor will be the first sign of Parkinson’s disease (symptoms of parkinson disease). It starts mostly in the hands, finger, thumb, or chin. If it happens immediately after a hard workout or following an injury, it is normal. Some medications cause similar adverse effects also.
- Some people will notice that their handwriting changed recently. The letters might become smaller in size and the whole sentence may look crowded. This condition, known as micrographia, is considered an early sign of Parkinson’s disease.
- A sudden change in a posture like stooping or hunching of the back may be a warning sign.
- Losing the ability to feel the smell sensation of some familiar things like fruits or pickles can be a very early sign of this condition. This may be ignored or misunderstood like in the case of an allergy or respiratory infection. But a chronic and non-recovering loss of smell may be a dangerous sign.
- Many people experience uncomfortable movements in sleep, like unusual quick jerking of the body or continued tossing and turning in bed.
- Trouble to initiate walking, complaining of stiffness or pain in the hip or shoulders.
- Constipation without any other causes can be an early sign of Parkinson’s disease.
- Unusual and permanent changes in a voice often represent an early Parkinson’s case. If not diagnosed otherwise.
Parkinson’s disease is not reversible or curable. In the current scenario, treatment can only arrest the progress of the disease but that can do wonders in the quality of life of the patient. The only medication for Parkinson’s disease is levodopa which gets converted into dopamine within the body and reduces the symptoms. But to avoid or control adverse reactions, a combination drug called sustained release carbidopa-levodopa is given as the most effective medicine. It makes sure that the drug gets active within the brain, in a needed way. Medications like anti-tremor drugs, antidepressants, or cognition enhancers may be prescribed along with this drug. Some doctors advise multivitamins and mineral supplements if there is any remarkable deficiency. In some cases, dopamine promoters are also used to promote dopamine receptors in the brain. Regular and moderate exercise routines with a professional physiotherapist can help in the improvement of some people.
Any disease can be of its worst form when associated with some debilitating factors for the patient. These factors make the treatment less effective and the disease holds an upper hand by all means. These are called risk factors. The most relevant risk factors for Parkinson’s disease are age, heredity, sex, and exposure to toxins. The disease affects people older than 60 years and that makes the treatment difficult with a poor outcome. A close family member or relative diagnosed with the condition makes you prone to it. White men are affected more worldwide, than blacks or women. Continued exposure to chemicals like herbicides or heavy metals can also trigger the disease.