Decades ago, a neurological disease caught the attention of the media and the public. This is called Parkinson’s disease. Others call the disease as The Shaking Palsy. Let us look at what is Parkinson's disease exactly and what are the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, its causes and treatment options available for those affected by this disease.
Parkinson's disease became popular when famous people like boxing champion Muhammad Ali and Hollywood actor Michael J. Fox were diagnosed by such condition. They often described their condition as someone who were “trapped” in their own bodies. So what is exactly a Parkinson’s disease?
The disease can be classified among the group of neurological disorders because the brain, as part of the nervous system is the main target. It further leads to decreased muscle control and will manifest a trembling hand that progresses to a slowing down movement.
Most cases of Parkinson’s disease usually happens at the age of 50-70 years old or when a person reaches the middle adulthood stage. In the case of Ali, he was diagnosed at the age of 42.
The name came from an English doctor James Parkinson who described the symptoms in 1817.
The cause of Parkinsons is still unknown but many experts believed the use of pesticides or insecticides might have contributed in the reduced levels of dopamine, a chemical messenger that the nerve cells are using for communication with the rest of the brain. Other predisposing factors include old age, male sex, and heredity.
Many scientists are also on the verge of studying the idea that some areas of the brain might have contributed to the disease.
Recently, researchers have also found clumps of a protein alpha-synuclein, which are also known as Lewy Bodies in the brain stem and olfactory bulb. These bodies presented signs of the Parkinson's disease.
Dr. Willie Ong in his book Doctor’s Health Tips and Home Remedies gives a mnemonic to determine the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. That is the T-R-A-P symptom.
These are the four main symptoms of the parkinson's disease and it will start on one side of the body then it slowly progresses until it affects the whole body. It can lead to crippling but not death. There were only rare cases of Parkinson’s that led them to death.
If the cause is unknown then it goes the same with the cure or treatment of the parkinson's disease. However, there are medicines that can control the symptoms. Usually, doctors will prescribe Levedopa and Carbidopa (brand name is Sinimet) to improve movements and lessen the TRAP symptoms. The bad thing for these drugs is it can lead to complications when used for a long-term basis. Some of the unwanted effects include abnormal movements, abrupt changes in muscle control, sleeplessness, vivid nightmares, hallucinations and confusion.
Other alternative drugs like pramipexole and bromocriptine (also known as “dopamine agonists”) have also their own unwanted side-effects.
It is very important for a person or a relative with Parkinson’s disease to consult a doctor or a neurologist to discuss these options.
Find out more in my next article how you can help your loved one with a Parkinson’s Disease about what you can do to help yourself or someone you loved who has Parkinson’s disease improve their health.
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