“When the cure for Parkinson’s is found – and it will be – it will be because of all of us working together.” – Michael J. Fox
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system affecting the motor functions of the body. The disorder develops due to any issue in the brain’s nerve cells that produce Dopamine – the neurotransmitter responsible for sending out signals to control body movement. According to one of the largest not-for-profit healthcare organizations in the US, Parkinson’s affects as many as 1 million people in the country with up to 60,000 cases diagnosed each year. Continuing on the subject, in this post, we discuss the causes, symptoms and treatment options of Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s generally develops due to a gradual breakdown of neurons. Reduction in the level of dopamine, a key neurotransmitter in the brain, due to the loss of neurons, results in abnormal brain activity. Apart from this, gene mutations and exposure to environmental toxins are other possible causes for the diseases, though they are comparatively rare.
Parkinson’s symptoms show slight variation from individual to individual. But overall, the onset of symptoms is gradual and subtle. It may start with stiffness and tremors in one of the hands with a slowdown in movement.
Commonly observed symptoms of Parkinson’s include involuntary shaking of a limb at rest. Another manifestation of Parkinson’s is bradykinesia or the slowness of bodily movement. The steps taken by the patient become shorter and performing simple tasks become difficult and time-consuming.
People with Parkinson’s disease may gradually lose control over pre-programmed functions such as blinking. Along with this, patients may also exhibit speech disorders, characterized by monotone, slow or fast speech, slurred speech, and soft voice. Writing becomes difficulty too, due to lack of muscle control; micrographia or small handwriting is an early indicator of the disease.
Doctors usually recommend medications, home exercises, and diet to keep the symptoms under control. Only in a few cases, they advise surgical intervention. Common medications for the treatment of Parkinson’s include levodopa, MAO-B inhibitors, and dopamine agonists. They are FDA-approved drugs that either replenish the function of dopamine or inhibit further breakdown of neurons.
When it comes to Parkinson’s remedies, non-medicinal approach such as exercise and healthy diet is also common. Typically, physical therapists recommend a workout regimen to increase muscle flexibility and strength. These exercises can be done at home. They are known to improve one’s gait and balance over time. Activities such as yoga, massage, and acupuncture also provide an effective way to cope with many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s.
While no specific food items are recommended for Parkinson’s patients, some foods are known to help ease the symptoms. For example, constipation is a common symptom in Parkinsonism, and a diet comprising high-fiber foods and fluids can assuage the problem. In addition, a balanced diet consisting of nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial for people with Parkinson’s disease.
The surgical procedure for Parkinson’s is called deep brain stimulation (DBS) that involves placing an electrical implant inside the brain. In DBS, electrodes send electrical signals to the brain to stimulate it. This procedure is usually recommended in advanced cases of Parkinson’s when patients become unresponsive to medications. Although DBS might be effective in mitigating Parkinson’s symptoms, it doesn’t halt the progress of the disease.
Managing people with Parkinson’s may be challenging but not impossible. Through proper care and medications, patients can lead a quality life. If you too need professional care for Parkinson’s disease, get in touch with Home Care Assistance of Dallas. We’re a professional, committed, and competent home care services provider in Dallas, specializing in caring for individuals with various age-related disorders including Parkinson’s. To learn more about our care plans, fill out our contact forms to schedule a FREE in-home consultation. Or simply call 214 253 8784.