Parkinson’s Disease: Signs, Causes, Effects And Treatment

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Introduction: Parkinson’s disease, known as PD, is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects motor ability. Parkinson’s disease causes internal and external change that targets and kills the cells responsible for producing dopamine, a chemical involved in sending messages to the brain in order for the body to move. When these dopamine-producing neurons are damaged or die, communication between the brain and muscles weakens. Eventually, the brain becomes unable to control muscle movement. As the disease progresses, it becomes progressively harder for patients to control their movements. This disease is interesting to me because I thought that people who are diagnosed with Parkinson’s can only be older adults, but it can also be middle-aged people as well. I haven’t seen this in clinical, but when I was working at a nursing home as a nurse assistant, one of the patients that I was taking care of, who was middle-aged was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Now that I think about it, Parkinson’s has changed many people’s lives, including the patient that I took care of. Because of this disease, she lost her ability to take care of herself and her family. Her situation was my motivation to write about Parkinson’s. In this research paper, you will be informed of what Parkinson ’s is.

Sign and symptoms: Parkinson’s is a chronic disease and it is a disease that progresses. Many Parkinson disease symptoms occur when nerve cells (neurons) in the substantia nigra die or become impaired. PD is distinguished into five stages according to the symptoms and level of disability. The first sign of PD is Tremor, which might be minimal at first, so the patient will be the only who notices it, and this can affect handwriting. Parkinsonian tremor is more dominant at rest and is aggravated by emotional stress. Tremor can include the tongue, lips, and jaw but rarely causes shaking of the head.

Stage two is the mild stage, and it involves Bilateral limb involvement, Masklike facies, and Slow, shuffling gait. In Stage three Moderate Disease takes part, which includes Postural instability and increased gait disturbances. Then, Stage four is Severe, which has Slow Movement and Rigidity. The Rigidity is caused by sustained muscle contradictions and consequently elicits a complaint of muscle soreness, feeling tired and achy, or pain the head, upper body, spine, or legs. Another consequence of rigidity is the slowness of movement because it inhibits the alternating of contraction and relaxation in opposing muscle groups. Finally, Stage five is completely dependent in all their daily activities. Also, a patient can have a soft, low pitched voice and slurred pitch. Diagnostic testing for PD is done through SPECT and PET. They are the most useful imaging modalities to demonstrate degenerative changes for this disease.

Who commonly get affected: Parkinson’s is not contagious and it does carry several risk factors. Such as age, a family history of the illness and exposure to chemical and industrial toxins. Everywhere around the world, Parkinson’s disease affects people’s lives. Both men and women can get Parkinson’s disease, but men are affected more. It is easier to get exposed to it when someone is older than forty years old and it becomes more common as people age. Young people affected by PD are usually between the ages of twenty-one to forty years of age. According to research, PD is more common in Caucasians than any other Ethnicity. The disease progresses faster in patients who are older at diagnosis. Additionally, people can be predisposed from their living environments. PD is a hereditary disease leading to the idea that it is both dominant and recessive.

Cause and Etiology

Although the cause of PD is not known, it is most likely due to environmental and genetic factors. Parkinson’s disease can be acquired as a result of other diseases. PD does not only interfere with movement because of dopamine loss in the brain. It also reduces the sympathetic nervous system that influences on the heart and blood vessels. As a result of an autonomic dysfunction, Orthostatic hypotension and Excessive perspiration can be developed, but also manifests in non-motor symptoms including sleep problems, constipation, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. To manage these diseases, you should drink more fluids to stay hydrated, exercise, get enough sleep and take antihypertensive medication.

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Effects: Parkinson’s disease is progressive and worsens over time. Once this disease has begun to affect the patient, it is a lifelong problem. However, it does possess the ability to change how the patients live their life. Many other symptoms are developed with this disease as well. As a result, Dementia does develop in almost half of patients with PD. Because of their swallowing difficulties, malnutrition, or aspiration may result. Other long-term effects can be pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and skin breakdown. Patients with parkinsonism have a severe type of postural deformities which may also be present at the onset but PD patients usually have these deformities in advanced stages many years after the initial diagnosis. These deformities cause significant pain, discomfort, and walking difficulty leading to severe disability and poor quality of life.

Disorders of equilibrium result from loss of stability. People living with this disease cannot make the appropriate postural adjustment to titling and fall when starting to tilt. Also, the festinating gait, which is short accelerating steps, is an attempt to maintain an upright position while walking. Parkinson’s disease patients may have different types of postural deformities in sagittal and coronal planes. Deformities in sagittal planes include anterocollis, dropped head, and camptocormia. Pisa syndrome and scoliosis are coronal plane deformities.

Conclusion: The treatment of Parkinson’s helps to relieve its’ symptoms since there is no cure for this disease. Because there is no diagnostic test, the diagnosis is based on the history and the clinical features. A diagnosis can be made when tremor, rigidity, or bradykinesia are present in the patient. In fact, the confirmation of PD is a positive response to antiparkinsonian drugs. Drug therapy is an essential part of management which decreases sign and symptoms. It helps to correct an imbalance of neurotransmitters within the Central Nervous System. This type of treatment allows the patient to provide self-care and have a reasonable quality of life. From Drug therapy, the patient will improve mobility. Antiparkinsonian drugs either enhance the release or supply of dopaminergic. Medications may help you manage problems with walking, movement, and tremor. These medications increase or substitute for dopamine.

The patients may have significant improvement in their symptoms after starting Parkinson’s disease treatment. Over time, however, the benefits of drugs frequently decrease or become less consistent. The medications prescribed by their doctors include Carbidopa-levodopa, Carbidopa-levodopa infusion, Carbidopa-levodopa infusion, MAO B inhibitors, Catechol O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors, Anticholinergics, and Amantadine. There are different types of options when surgery is needed for the patient. Surgery is performed when drugs are not effective in symptom management. The surgery procedures include Stereo Pallidotomy, (opening into the pallidum within the corpus striatum, ) is an effective treatment for controlling the systems of PD. As an alternative to stereotactic pallidotomy, the surgeon may perform a thalamotomy (open into the thalamus of the brain for the stimulation. )

Another procedure is called the Deep Brain Stimulation, and it is when a thin electrode is implanted in the thalamus and then connected to a pacemaker that delivers electric current to interfere with tremor cells. The last surgical procedure is Fetal Tissue Transplantation, in which fetal substantia nigra tissue is transplanted into the caudate nucleus of the brain. Exercise programs such as yoga and tai chi may help elevate mood and improve modality. Early in the disease process, it is important to collaborate with physical and occupational therapists to keep the patient mobile and flexible by incorporating active and passive range-of-motion exercises, muscle stretching and activity. As the disease progresses and swallowing becomes more of a problem, supplemental feedings become the main source of nutrition to maintain weight, with meals and other foods taken as the patient can tolerate. Parkinson’s disease is not a fatal illness, but it progresses until it leaves the patient debilitated, which can take fifteen years. The rate of progression depends on the stage and level of PD that the patient has. The symptoms do not always affect how long you live, but it can change your quality of life in a major way. After about ten years, most people will have at least one major issue, like dementia or a physical disability.

From this research paper about Parkinson’s disease, I hope you learned about its’ effects and how it impacts a person’s life. It is important to know that anyone can get this disease. Many people around the world are working hard to help people living with Parkinson’s and trying to put an end to it.

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