PARKINSON’S DISEASE

Parkinson’s disease is one of the chronic progressive neurological disorders, meaning the symptoms continue to get worsen over time. Parkinson’s disease belongs to the condition of MOTOR SYSTEM DISORDER. Parkinson’s primarily affects the neurons in the area of the brain called as “SUBSTANTIA NIGRA”. As the Parkinson’s disease progresses, the amount of dopamine in the brain cells gets decreases and gradually the patients loss their physical control. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that sends messages to the part of the brain for coordination and movement.

Recent studies show that nearly 7 million of Indians were estimated to be afflicted with Parkinson’s disease. As the population grows, people with Parkinson’s are expected to grow gradually. This disease usually arises at the age of 50 but in few cases it may arise even at the age of 40. The causation of the disease is unknown and yet to be identified, although researchers believe that the cause could be a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Some of the available treatments help to reduce or manage the symptoms at a certain level since there is no treatment that has been found to completely cure the disease.

FrontEnders foundation is dedicated and aims to educate patients, caregivers and the general public about Parkinson’s disease. We at the foundation also aim to help people who are affected with Parkinson’s on how to manage their symptoms and also maintain a quality life. As exercise has proven to improve mobility and accomplish daily tasks of the person, the programs designed by us have taken this into consideration.

HISTORY OF PARKINSON’S DISEASE:

The condition of the Parkinson’s disease is identified since ancient times. In the ancient medical system of “Ayurveda”, the Parkinson’s disease was referred under the name of KAMPAVATA [in Sanskrit KAMPA means tremor]. James Parkinson was a general practitioner in London, during his medical work he identified six patients with a new disease. Three of them were his own patients and other three he found them on the street. In 1817 James Parkinson published a medical essay on, “Shaking Palsy” and later, the disease was named as Parkinson’s Disease.

SYMPTOMS OF PARKINSON’S DISEASE

Patients experience range of symptoms but not all patients experience every (same) symptom and the pace at which an individual experiences symptoms vary on an individual basis. Parkinson’s disease may often start with a tremor in the single hand, slow down movement, stiffness and loss of balance in the human body.

  • Tremor (or) Shaking: The patient may experience slight shaking in their finger, hand, thumbs, limbs or they can be postural.
  • Slowed movement (bradykinesia).Parkinson’s disease may reduce the ability of the patient to move and slow down the body movements. It makes the simple tasks difficult and takes times to do an activity. Also, they may drag their feet while they are walking.
  • Facial: The patientsmay feel the stiffness in their jaw or may reduce facial expression.
  • Rigid Muscular: The Parkinson’s patients may feel difficulty in standing, walking, bodily movement. Muscles may get rigid.
  • Impaired posture and balance – There will be a sudden pause in the movements and the patient may also face a balancing problem.
  • Trouble in sleep: The patient may fall out from the bed in the deep sleep. Daytime sleepiness, restlessness or nightmares are also the symptoms of the disease.
  • Speech: The patient will feel the change in their voice, impaired voice, soft speech or voice box spasms
  • Mood: The patient will have anxiety or apathy
  • Urinary: The may have trouble in urination anddribbling of urine

CAUSES OF PARKINSON’S

The cause of Parkinson’s disease is still unidentified, but there are several factors that play a role in the causes of Parkinson’s disease which could be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

  • Genes: Genetic mutuality from parents or sibling may also be the reason for Parkinson’s disease. The studies say that if a person’s parents or siblings have Parkinson’s disease, the chances for the person to get the disease are higher. But there are only a few reports on this and people without a family history can also get affected by the condition.
  • Environment Factor: The exposure to certain toxins, pesticide, carbon monoxide or any other environmental factors may increase the risk of getting the Parkinson’s disease in future. But a limited amount of exposure to the toxins may not be a key factor for the disease.

While the causes have not been clearly identified, studies have identified factors with great or less amount of risk of Parkinson’s disease. Some of the risks identified are;

  • Head injury
  • Family history
  • Advancing age
  • Male gender

TEST AND DIAGNOSIS

There is no specific test to diagnose the Parkinson’s disease. The people who are suspecting with the signs of Parkinson’s disease should consult a neurologist to diagnose the condition. The doctor would be able to identify the disease with the sign, symptoms, neurological and physical examination and as well with the patient’s medical history.

  • The first thing the doctor may ask the patient is to take tests like blood test, imaging test such as, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), CT Scan, ultrasound of the brain, Positron Emission Tomography (PET). These imaginary tests can help to diagnose Parkinson’s disease. .
  • Once the condition is diagnosed, the doctor prescribes certain medicines. The patient is advised to follow the dosage as prescribed by the doctor.

TREATMENTS FOR THE PARKINSON’S DISEASE

At the moment, there are no specific treatments that are available to treat Parkinson’s but available drugs and therapies can effectively control the symptoms to an extent over the years. As the level of disease varies from person to person, the treatment aspect also works differently among the people and cannot be standard. One has to work closely with your physician to determine the level and type of treatment. The different treatment approaches for the Parkinson’s disease is mentioned below;

Medication

Your physician prescribes the medicines and dosage depending upon the severity of the condition. Patients are advised to follow the doctor’s recommendations and continue the course of medication.

Deep Brain Stimulation surgery

Patients also undergo the surgery known as Deep Brain Stimulation. This type of surgery helps to treat the Parkinson’s disease symptoms. A thin electrode is inserted into the brain and small electrical pulses stimulate a small brain portion and also block the signals which cause motor problems.

Exercise and physiotherapy

Research believes that exercise helps Parkinson’s patients to improve their mobility and also to do the daily tasks on their own. Regular exercises help to improve their flexibility, strength and fitness apart from the medications as prescribed by the doctor. Some of the other benefits are mentioned below;

  • Improves muscle strength and flexibility
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Better digestion of food
  • Increases efficiency in breathing
  • Enhances fitness well
  • Increases well-being
  • Improves joint movements

senior fitness

The person identified with Parkinson’s will be given a step by step process of exercise

Passive:

The physiotherapist will assist the patient in all the steps of the exercise.

Active:

The patient has to do the exercises on their own.

Active assisted:

The physiotherapist will give a support to the patient to do the exercise.

Strengthen:

Strengthen process helps the patient to make their body strong, with the help of weight plates to get back near to the normal stage (to do all the works by their own).

YOU ARE NOT ALONE:

If you are diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease don’t get scared of the disease, because YOU ARE NOT ALONE – there are people who lead a happy life with Parkinson’s Disease.

The fear you have with the disease may increase your stress level and that may worsen the condition further. Do not try to hide about the disease from your family or from your close friend’s circle, get their support. Interact and discuss about your condition with family and friends who may help you to face and overcome the disease. Engage yourself with various activities.