Parkinson’s disease is a condition in which a portion of your brain deteriorates, resulting in increasingly severe symptoms over time. While this disorder is best known for affecting muscle control, balance, and mobility, it can also affect your senses, thinking capacity, mental health, and other areas.
Parkinson’s disease develops naturally with age, and the average age at which it begins is 60 years old. It is slightly more prevalent in men or persons born male (DMAB) than in women or people born female (DMAB) (DFAB).
While Parkinson’s disease is traditionally associated with old age, it can strike adults as young as 20. (though this is extremely rare, and often people have a parent, or child with this condition)
What is the prevalence of this condition?
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common age-related degenerative brain illness. It is also the most frequent motor (movement) brain disorder. According to experts, it affects at least 1% of adults over the age of 60 worldwide.
What effect does this have on my body?
Parkinson’s disease deteriorates a specific area of your brain called the basal ganglia. As this area deteriorates, you lose the skills you formerly had control over. Parkinson’s disease produces a significant change in the chemistry of your brain, according to research.
Under normal conditions, your brain uses chemicals called neurotransmitters to control how your brain cells (neurons) connect with one another. Parkinson’s disease causes a lack of dopamine, one of the most critical neurotransmitters.
When your brain sends activation signals to your muscles, it fine-tunes your movements utilising dopamine-requiring cells. That is why Parkinson’s disease symptoms such as slower movements and tremors are caused by a shortage of dopamine.
The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease worsen and extend as the disease develops. Later stages of the disease frequently impact how your brain works, resulting in dementia-like symptoms and depression.
What’s the distinction between Parkinson’s disease and parkinsonism?
Parkinsonism is a catch-all term for Parkinson’s disease and other illnesses with comparable symptoms. It can refer to disorders other than Parkinson’s disease, such as multiple system atrophy or corticobasal degeneration.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Loss of muscle control is one of Parkinson’s disease’s most well-known symptoms.
Symptoms of motor dysfunction
Parkinson’s disease motor symptoms, or movement-related symptoms, include the following:
Other motor signs may include:
Blinking less frequently than normal. This is also a sign of poor facial muscle control.
Several symptoms that are unrelated to movement and muscular control are possible. Non-motor symptoms were once thought to be risk factors for this disease if they appeared before motor symptoms. However, there is mounting evidence that these symptoms can manifest in the early stages of the disease. This suggests that these symptoms could be warning indicators that appear years, if not decades, before motor problems.
Non-motor symptoms (with potential early warning signs highlighted) include:
How is it identified?
Parkinson’s disease is typically diagnosed clinically, which means that your doctor examines your symptoms, asks you questions, and reviews your medical history. Some diagnostic and laboratory tests are available, although they are usually required to rule out other illnesses or causes. However, most blood tests aren’t required until you don’t respond to Parkinson’s disease treatment, which can signal you have another ailment.
What tests will be performed to determine the severity of this condition?
Various imaging and diagnostic tests are available when healthcare providers suspect Parkinson’s disease or need to rule out other illnesses. These are some examples:
Is there a treatment for it, and is there a cure?
Parkinson’s disease is now incurable, however there are numerous treatments to manage its symptoms. Treatments can also differ from person to person, based on their individual symptoms and the effectiveness of certain treatments. The primary treatment for this illness is medication.
A secondary therapy option is to have a device implanted in your brain that delivers a small electrical current (this is known as deep brain stimulation). There are some experimental treatments available, such as stem cell-based therapy, but their availability varies, and many are not available to persons with Parkinson’s disease.
What drugs and therapies are used?
Medication therapies for Parkinson’s disease are classified as either direct or symptomatic. Direct therapy is directed towards Parkinson’s disease. Symptom treatments only address specific aspects of the condition.
Parkinson’s disease medications work in a variety of ways. As a result, medicines that do one or more of the following are likely:
Several drugs are available to address particular symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The following symptoms are frequently treated:
Treatments may have complications or negative effects.
The consequences and side effects of Parkinson’s disease therapies are determined by the medications themselves, the severity of the ailment, any underlying health issues you have, and other factors. Your healthcare professional is the best person to tell you more about the possible side effects and consequences. They can also advise you on how to reduce the impact of those side effects or difficulties on your life.
When should I consult my doctor or seek medical attention?