Updated: Feb 11
Parkinson's disease is a slowly progressive type of disorder of the nervous system that primarily affects one’s movements. Symptoms of this disease will begin gradually, sometimes, as barely observable tremors in only one of the hands. Tremors in this disease are very commonly seen however, this disorder will also commonly cause stiffness and slowing of the movements.
Thus, Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of neurological movements, the common symptoms of which may include tremors, slowness in movements, stiffened muscles, unsteady walking and balancing, and problems in coordination. Till now, there is no known cure for this disease. Most of the patients are capable of maintaining a good quality of life with the help of medications. In a few of the patients, surgery may help in improving the patient's symptoms.
What are the signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease?
The presenting symptoms in Parkinson’s disease along with the rate of cognitive decline varies widely from individual to individual. Most commonly observed symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include:
a) Tremors: In this disease, tremors begin in the hands as well as arms. It may also be seen in one’s jaw and/or foot. In earlier stages of this disease, often only one aspect of one’s body or single limb may be affected. As the progression of Parkinson’s disease is seen, tremors might spread to other parts of the body that may further worsen the condition. The tremors often disappear during sleep time and while one’s arm or leg undergoes movement
b) Slowing of the movements (also known as bradykinesia): This pertains to the slowing of bodily movements that are due to the slow transmission of impulses and signals related to the activity of essential instructions to one’s appropriate body parts. This particular symptom is very unpredictable and may be disabling in a fast manner. A person may be capable of moving effortlessly in one moment but sometimes one may need help in making any movements at all and for finishing routine tasks for example, in getting dressed-up, while taking bath or getting out of a chair. One might even have to drag their feet during a walk
c) Rigidity of muscles or stiffness of limbs: Rigidity of muscles refers to the inability of one’s muscles to undergo relaxation in a normal manner. This muscle rigidity is the result of uncontrolled tension in the muscles and may result in one's inability to move around in a free manner. The patient may also experience pain in the affected musculature that might limit one’s range of bodily movements
d) Problems in coordination leading to unsteadiness in walking as well as balancing: One might be developing forwardly directed leaning that can make them more likely to fall whenever they bump into any object. Thus, one might be taking short distanced footsteps to walk, may even face difficulty when beginning to walk, and also, face difficulty in stopping to walk and by not naturally swinging one’s arms as they walk. The patient may also feel as if his/her feet are sticking to the floor while trying to step forward
e) Dystonia or twisting of muscles, spasmodic contractions, or muscle cramps: One might be experiencing painful cramps in the foot or when toes are curled or clenched. Dystonia may also be found affecting the other parts of the body and
f) Stooping of posture or hunched back may occur.
Various other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease may include —
a) Decrease in facial expressions: One may not be able to smile or blink as worsening of this disease takes place, patients may have expressions less face
b) Changes in one’s speech or vocal alterations: A person’s speech might become quick-paced, undergo slurring, or may even become softer. One might also undergo hesitation before starting to speak and the voice pitch may exhibit no changes or become monotonous
c) One can observe changes in handwriting: A person suffering from Parkinson’s disease might show a reduction in the size of their handwriting that might become difficult to be read
d) Depression as well as anxiety
e) Problems in chewing as well as swallowing
f) drooling of saliva
g) Problems related to urination
h) Difficulty in thinking mentally and frequent memory-related problems
h) Development of hallucinations or delusions
j) Reporting of problems related to skin, for example, Loss of smell
k) Disturbances in sleep that includes disruption in sleep, when a person starts to act out their dreams
n) Lack of interest or apathy
p) Changes in weight
q) Changes in vision and
r) Lowering of blood pressure.
Healthcare professionals including those at Centric Healthcare thoroughly examine every patient to formulate their treatment or management, whichever is feasible.
Who are mostly at risk of developing Parkinson’s disease?
Various risk factors that are involved in the development of Parkinson's disease may include:
a) Age factor: Parkinson's disease has rarely been found affecting younger adults. This disease commonly starts during the middle and/or late stages of life. The risk of developing Parkinson’s disease has been found to increase as a person ages and people will generally develop this disease when they reach the age group of 60 years or above
b) Heredity factors: Those individuals who have any first-degree close relatives who have been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease might have increased chances of developing this disease. However, one has very little risk of Parkinson's disease unless numerous relatives in one's family have been suffering from Parkinson's disease
c) Sex difference: It has been observed that subjects belonging to the male gender are more highly to suffer from Parkinson's disease when compared to the female gender and
d) On getting exposed to a variety of toxins: Continuous exposure towards herbicides as well as pesticides might slightly increase one’s risk of developing Parkinson's disease.
Healthcare services including one at Centric Healthcare focus on identifying these prevailing risk factors among adult patients visiting the clinics and also, alerting them so that they can report at the right time on experiencing any of the early disease symptoms.
How can the development of this disease be prevented?
Since the exact cause of developing Parkinson's is not known, there are no proven methods for preventing this disease from affecting an individual. However, few studies have shown that performing aerobic exercises regularly may be capable of reducing the risk of developing Parkinson's disease. There is sufficient research work that has proven that individuals who regularly consume caffeine which is a primary constituent of tea, coffee as well as cola-containing drinks, can contract Parkinson's disease at a much lesser risk when compared to those who do not consume caffeine. Consumption of green tea has also been associated with a lesser risk of getting affected with Parkinson's disease.
Hence, all healthcare services especially, Centric Healthcare maintain a guarded strategy when advising patients with preventive measures against Parkinson's disease.
How can healthcare services help patients with Parkinson’s disease?
Centric Healthcare services help patients with Parkinson’s disease by encouraging them to become more physically active i.e. by exercising regularly, eating a well-balanced and healthy diet, and by improving one’s sleep.