Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that progressively affects the ability to move. It manifests through symptoms such as tremors, muscle stiffness, slow movement, and impaired balance. The disease results from the gradual loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain, leading to insufficient dopamine levels, a neurotransmitter critical for regulating movement. Today, on World Parkinson’s Day, we have Dr (Lt Gen) CS Narayanan Vsm, HOD And Consultant, Department of Neurology, HCMCT Manipal Hospital, Dwarka to tell us more about the unusual and often ignored symptoms of this condition and the various ways in which it can be treated.
Doctor Uncovers Signs of Parkinson’s Disease
Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease usually develop slowly over time and can be different for each person. Some common signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include:
This is the most common symptom of Parkinson’s disease. It usually starts in the hands or fingers and can spread to the arms, legs, and face. The tremors are often more noticeable when the person is at rest.
Parkinson’s disease can cause stiffness and rigidity in the muscles, making it difficult to move freely.
This is a slowness of movement that can affect daily activities such as walking, getting dressed, or eating.
Parkinson’s disease can cause problems with balance and coordination, leading to falls and injuries.
Parkinson’s disease can affect speech and cause a soft, mumbled, or monotone voice.
Loss of Smell
Many people with Parkinson’s disease lose their sense of smell.
Parkinson’s disease can cause sleep disturbances, including insomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness.
Depression and anxiety are common in people with Parkinson’s disease.
When To Visit A Doctor?
It is important to visit a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms, especially if they are persistent or worsen over time. Early diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s disease can improve the quality of life and slow the progression of the disease.
How is Parkinson’s Disease Treated? What Are The Recent Advances In Management?
The exact cause of Parkinson’s disease is not known, but researchers believe it is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. One of the main factors in Parkinson’s disease is the death of dopamine-producing cells in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate movement, and when these cells die, the brain doesn’t produce enough dopamine, which leads to the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
While there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, there are treatments available that can help manage the symptoms. One of the most effective treatments is medication, particularly levodopa, which helps replenish dopamine in the brain. Other medications, such as dopamine agonists, can mimic the effects of dopamine in the brain.
“In addition to medication, there are other therapies that can help manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. One of these is deep brain stimulation (DBS), which involves implanting electrodes in the brain to stimulate specific areas. DBS has been shown to improve tremors, stiffness, and other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease,” says Dr (Lt Gen) CS Narayanan Vsm.
Researchers are also exploring other therapies, such as gene therapy and stem cell therapy, as potential treatments for Parkinson’s disease. Gene therapy involves introducing new genetic material into cells to treat or prevent disease. Researchers are investigating gene therapy as a potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease by introducing genes that produce dopamine into the brain. Stem cell therapy involves using stem cells, which are cells that can develop into different types of cells in the body, to replace the dopamine-producing cells that have died in the brain.
Dr (Lt Gen) CS Narayanan Vsm also highlighted the importance of regular exercises in the management of this condition. He said, “Exercise is another important part of managing Parkinson’s disease. Regular exercise can improve balance, flexibility, and strength, and may help slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Exercise can also improve mood and overall quality of life”.