Parkinson’s disease is a progressive and degenerative nervous system disorder that affects the basal ganglia in the brain. The function of the basal ganglia is to balance and control the body movements. Hence, the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are the combination of the slowness of movement, tremor, and loss of postural reflexes. Symptoms start slowly, sometimes beginning with a hardly noticeable tremor in just one hand.
In Parkinson’s disease, certain neurons in the brain gradually break down or die especially of the substantia nigra. The neurons die hence the release of dopamine decreases, which reduces the inhibitory effect on the cortex. This result in symptoms of this disease.
The exact cause is unknown. But studies have shown some facts;
- Age. The chances of Parkinson’s disease increases with the age.
- Sex. Men are more prominent to develop Parkinson’s disease than are women.
- Parkinson is less common in cigarette smokers.
- Exposure to toxins. Exposure to chemicals, herbicides and pesticides may increase your risk of Parkinson’s disease.
- Heredity. Having a relative in blood relation with Parkinson’s disease raises the chances that you’ll develop the disease. None the less, your risks are still small if only you have one or two relative in your family with Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease symptoms
Parkinson’s disease symptoms and signs can be different for everyone.
In the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, you have maximum one or two symptoms so it is mostly unnoticed like expression less face, a lesser swing of arms when you walk. Parkinson’s disease symptoms worsen because illness progresses over time. It rarely affects both sides. The presentation is almost always unilateral.
Parkinson’s signs and symptoms may include:
- Tremors. Usually, tremor with starts in fingers or thumb with less movement of fingers. It may affect arms, legs, feet, jaw, and tongue. Tremors occur mainly when at rest especially when distracted. A tremor, or shaking, usually begins in a limb, often your hand or fingers. A pill-rolling tremor is seen which is the rub between thumb and forefinger back-and-forth.
- Expressionless face with indistinct speech.
- Flexed posture. Parkinson’s disease may make you become stooped.
- Gait. You walk with reduced arm swing, and your step becomes rapid and small, seems like the tendency to run called festination.
- Rigid muscles. Muscle stiffness may occur in any part of your body and that pains with the movement.
- Loss of automatic movements. You may have a diminished ability to execute unconscious movements, including blinking, smiling.
5 stages of Parkinson’s disease
Several staging systems for Parkinson’s disease exist depending upon the organization that treats and researches the disease. The Parkinson’s Foundation supports five stages:
- Stage 1. Symptoms are mild hence do not interfere with the person’s daily life much.
- Stage 2. Symptoms worsen and daily tasks become harder and take more time to finish.
- Stage 3 is considered mid-stage Parkinson’s disease. The balance is lost. The individual moves slowly. Symptoms impair daily activities, for example, eating, dressing, and brushing teeth.
- Stage 4. The patient needs support while walking and performing daily activities.
- Stage 5 is the most advanced stage of Parkinson’s disease. The individual is bedridden. He is unable to walk and will need full-time assistance with living. His full body almost shivers.
Parkinson’s disease is can be accompanied by these problems:
- Depression and emotional changes. You may experience depression, sometimes in the very early stages. Receiving treatment for depression can make it a lot easier to deal with the other challenges of Parkinson’s disease.
- Thinking difficulties. You may experience dementia and thinking difficulties in later stages of Parkinson’s disease.
- Other movement problems. As body movement is affected, You may develop problems with swallowing, chewing, constipation, inability to control urine.
- Sleep problems and sleep disorders. Individuals with Parkinson’s disease frequently have sleep problems, including waking up regularly during the night, waking up early or falling asleep during the day.
- Fatigue. Many people with Parkinson’s disease lose energy and experience fatigue, especially later in the day. The cause isn’t always known.
- Sexual dysfunction. Sexual desire decreases with the disease.
We are pleased to welcome a guest contributor, Dr. Shivani Aggarwal. Dr Aggarwal is a homeopathic physician. She writes on her own findings to spread the word about how people can improve the way they live through homeopathic medicine. Her blog can be found at http://homeopathyrecovery.com.