Over 1 million Americans are suffering from a movement disorder commonly known as Parkinson’s Disease (PD). This health condition starts to show for people who are aged 50 and above. However, there are some individuals that experience it even in their early 30s or 40s. So what is this Parkinson’s Disease all about?
Parkinson’s Disease Explained
- PD is a neurological condition that slowly progresses as we age. The loss of certain brain cells such as dopamine is the one responsible on why this disease exists in the first place. Dopamine is important as it helps on creating smooth muscle movement throughout different parts of our body. The loss of dopamine cells has been studied by various researchers worldwide to find the cure for the disease.
- Tremor/trembling in the arms, jaw, legs, or face
- Slow movement known as bradykinesia
- Stiffness in the limbs and torso
- Impaired balance and gait dysfunction
- Soft speech
- Loss of memory
- Vivid dreams and dream enactment
- Taking medication is the recommended treatment for PD just like any other movement disorders. In its early stages, there are different kinds of oral treatment that is effective to reduce the symptoms. However, keep in mind that side effects may show despite its effectiveness. That’s why seeing a neurologist first is important so that he/she can monitor the effects of your medication, manage side effects, and give you tips and advices for such.
- For about 10 years or so, patients will begin to develop changes in their symptoms that will lead to a condition called dyskinesias. When this happens, frequent dosing is needed and some alternative treatment are required.
- An option of this alternative treatment is undergoing a Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). It is proven to lessen the tremors or uneasy movement for people who have PD. DBS uses electrodes, or wires, that are surgically implanted directly to the brain. It is then connected to a pacemaker-like battery implanted in the chest. The battery is programmed to deliver small amounts of electricity to correct abnormal parts in the brain.
- Another option is the Duopa therapy. This is a gel infusion that is instead of taking orally, it is delivered directly into the intestine by the use of a surgically inserted tube that is connected into an external pump where the medication is contained.