The term “parkinsonism” is used to describe signs of stiffness, tremor, slowing of movement as a result of loss of dopamine in the brain. In a few cases, it is not justified to say that the cause of this disease is “unknown” since it could be a result of genetic mutations. It is possible that a person who has been treated for this disease in the past may have to be diagnosed again with the same medication after additional features and symptoms of Parkinson’s are developed. Parkinson’s is a degenerative disorder that will get worse as time progresses.
The usually prescribed medications to fight Parkinson’s disease are either less effective or not effective at all when it comes to controlling the symptoms of this deadly disease.
Some of the symptoms that may be observed with Parkinson’s disease include:
- Motor symptoms ( body stiffness, instability/disturbance in posture, involuntary movement of body parts, inability to move, fatigue, infrequent blinking)
- Mood disorders
- Behavioral disorders
- Disorders relating to thought processing (slow reactions, hallucinations, short-term memory loss)
- Disorders of sensation (inability to determine colors, impaired vision, loss of sense of smell)
- Speech and swallowing disorders (sounding different when talking, drooling, problems relating to swallowing)
- Sleep disorders (excessive sleep, insomnia)
Some of the causes of Parkinson’s disease include:
- Genetics: In the past few years, discoveries have been made regarding specific genetic mutations which cause Parkinson’s disease. It is highly likely that a person who is suffering from Parkinson’s disease has relatives who are also suffering from the same disease. Although, this doesn’t indicate that the disease is hereditary in nature.
- Toxins: According to recent studies, genetics combined with toxins generally cause the Parkinson’s disease. The most suspected toxins as per the latest studies are certain pesticides, metals like manganese or iron, especially those responsible for creating reactive oxygen species.
- Head Trauma: A recent study has shown that people suffering from Parkinson’s disease show signs of frequent head trauma and people who have suffered head injuries in the past are 4 times more likely to develop the Parkinson’s disease.
While there is no absolute cure for this disease, there are medicines available which are helpful in treating the symptoms of this disease. Some patients choose to undergo a brain surgery, in which the patient receives deep brain stimulation. Surgery is usually only performed on those patients who can no longer depend on medications alone.
Another form of treatment is neurorehabilitation, in which a patient is stimulated to physically exercise (in what ever manner is possible) as well as practice speaking. Some studies have shown that speech and mobility have improved in patients who chose this type of treatment.
Celebrities who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease include Muhammad Ali, Johnny Cash, Pope John Paul II and Michael J. Fox, who has also founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkison’s Research.
Image attributions: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Parkinson_surgery.jpg, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Human-brain-soul-of-man-p113.pngTags: brain