Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the nervous system that gradually affects the individual’s ability to move. It is a progressive disorder that may be managed, despite the fact that there is no cure.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

The early signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are mild in nature and tend to go unnoticed. As the disease progresses, the symptoms tend to become worse. The most characteristic phenomena of this disease is signified by symptoms that usually begin on one side of the body and gradually become severe on that side. Simultaneously, the disease starts affecting the other side of the body. Parkinson’s disease is characterized by the following symptoms.

  • Tremors
  •  Bradykinesia characterized by slowed movement
  •  Muscle rigidity
  •  Speech difficulty
  •  Difficulty in writing
  •  Loss of balance and postural problems
  •  Loss in automatic movements
  •  Resting tremor

Diagnosing Parkinson’s Disease

Your medical practitioner will initially diagnose this condition based on present signs, symptoms, physical evaluation, and neurological examination.

Another method of diagnosing Parkinson’s disease is offered by the drug carbidopalevodopa. This drug may be administered to individuals suspected to have this disease. The improvement in symptoms with this drug offers a confirmatory test for Parkinson’s disease.

Your medical provider may proceed with the following tests to rule out other medical conditions that have similar symptoms.

  • Blood tests to rule the possibility of liver disease or abnormal levels of thyroid hormone
  •  CT scan or MRI to determine any instances of stroke or brain tumor
  •  PET – Positron emission tomography that determines the level of dopamine in the brain.

Other Possible Related Conditions?

Parkinson’s disease often brings along the following secondary medical conditions over time.

  • Cognitive problems
  •  Loss of control over bladder movement
  •  Constipation
  •  Decrease in sexual performance
  •  Sleep disorders 
  •  Depression
  •  Emotional disorders

Treatment

Medications and surgical procedures are often the mode of treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Medications, such as carbidopalevodopa, dopamine antagonists, MAO B Inhibitors, Anticholinergics, amantadine and catechol – O methyl transferase inhibitors may be prescribed to help keep the symptoms under control.

The surgical approach involves deep brain stimulation, a relatively newer procedure. This procedure sends electrical impulse to the brain, which in turn helps control the symptoms.

Outcome

The symptoms can usually be managed under treatment. As the disease progresses, individuals may be less likely to respond to medication management. The deep brain stimulation procedure holds promise for an enhanced quality of life in those who qualify. Over time, cognitive decline may be more likely to set in, which is associated with a major cause of disability in this population. Select individuals may have a shorter life expectancy.      

It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition.