Proper treatment can help Parkinson's disease patient lead near-normal life

Parkinsons Disease
Though the exact cause for Parkinson's disease is not known, genetic and environmental factors may be the culprits. Representative image: PopTika / Shutterstock

April 11 is World Parkinson’s Day, and this is the 200th year since it was first described by Dr. James Parkinson.

Parkinson’s disease occurs when the majority of dopamine-producing brain cells are destroyed. Resulting in the deficiency of this critical chemical, which affects the part of the brain that controls movement. Though the exact cause for the disease is not known, genetic and environmental factors may be the culprits.

The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

In the majority of patients, tremors are the first noticeable symptom. Followed by stiffness of muscles; slowness of routine activities; imbalance and falls; reduced movement of facial muscles; low-volume speech; difficulty in writing; and a shuffling gait. Non-movement-related symptoms are also common like depression, anxiety, memory loss, sleep disorders, increased urine frequency and incontinence, constipation, difficulty swallowing and drooling and a loss of sense of smell.

Usually, Parkinson’s afflicts those above 50 years. However, about 10% of patients develop the disease before 40 years of age mainly due to genetic factors.

The treatment

In the initial stages of the disease, milder medicines are administered. But as the disease advances, levo dopa medication is given to supplement the dopamine deficiency.

In even more advanced stages, a surgical procedure called ''deep brain stimulation'' can be done. When two electrodes are inserted in the brain through two small holes made on the scalp and are stimulated by current from a battery placed in the patient’s body. With this advanced treatment, the patient usually gets a 50% or more improvement in the symptoms.

Though there is no cure for Parkinson’s, with proper treatment and physiotherapy a patient can lead a near-normal and peaceful life.

(Dr Sreeram Prasad A V is Senior Consultant - Neurologist & Movement Disorders Specialist, Meitra Hospital, Kozhikode)

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.