Early Signs of Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease, popularly called Parkinson’s, is a long term neurodegenerative disorder that belongs to the family of neurodegenerative diseases. 

These diseases have an underlying theme, which is the gradual destruction of the neurons, and over time the neurons begin to die off, which leads to an inability to carry out regular daily activities without help. 

Neurodegenerative diseases are debilitating, and patients tend to require assistance to do daily tasks as the diseases progress. The usual onset of Parkinson’s disease is age 60 years.

What are early warning signs of Parkinson’s disease?

The early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are as follows:

  • Decrease or loss of facial expressions.
  • Restricted movement of hands while walking.
  • Forgetfulness
  • Slight shaking of one hand or leg
  • Depression
  • The voice becomes lower or hoarse
  • Mood swings

What are the advanced symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

The advanced symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are as follows:

  • Parkinsonism (Parkinson’s syndrome) is made up of: slowness of movement (bradykinesia), Rigidity, Tremor while resting: frequency of tremor is 4 – 6hertz (cycles per second), Postural instability (slouching)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Handwriting becomes smaller and cramped
  • Problems with coordination while standing or walking
  • Lead pipe rigidity: is continuous resistance to passive movement without fluctuations
  • Cogwheel rigidity: is jerky resistance to passive movement as muscles tense and relax.
  • Dementia
  • Generalized tremor(shaking) that lead to falling out of bed
  • Hallucinations (incorrect perception of objects and events)
  • Slurred speech
  • Delusions (false beliefs)

 What are the main causes of Parkinson’s disease?

The cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown, but several factors put a person at risk of developing Parkinson’s. Those risks are as follows:

  • Family history of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Family history of other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Lewy bodies dementia, amyotrophic lateral dystrophy
  • The long term used of herbicides and pesticides has been the link to increase the risk of Parkinson’s.
  • Accumulation of Lewy bodies in the brain increases the risk of Parkinson’s.
  • Lewy bodies are clumping of abnormal proteins in the nerve cells.
  • Head injuries
  • Hypouricemia

How Parkinson’s is diagnosed?

1. Imaging:

  • MRI is the most accurate diagnostic method for Parkinson’s.
  • CT scan is used only to rule out other diseases such as encephalitis and stroke
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)
  • Single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) with DaTSCAN is very useful

2. Diagnostic Criteria

Several institutions have set up some factors to consider to make a confirmed diagnosis of Parkinson’s. Those institutions are:

  • United kingdom Queen Square Brain Bank for Neurological Disorders
  • U. S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
  • International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS)
  • BRAAK Staging

What is the best treatment for Parkinson’s disease?

At the moment, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but that are medications and physical methods treatment to slow down the processes of the disease, which are as follow: 

The medicines for Parkinson’s Disease include:

  • Anti-tremor: Levodopa.
  • Antidepressant: citalopram, sertraline and amitriptyline.
  • Cognitive enhancers: Rivastigmine
  • Dopamine promoter: Bromocryptine, pramipexole, lisuride and cabergoline.
  • Anticholinergics: Benztropine, procyclidine, and orphenadrine.

Surgery methods of treatment include:

  • Surgery: Deep brain stimulation, ablative surgery (pallidotomy and thalamotomy), and grafting fetal mesencephalic cells into the striatum

physical methods of treatment

The physical methods of treatment will help to cope with the symptoms and also improve the quality of life of the patient, which are as follow:  

  • Therapeutic exercises which are useful for maintaining muscle tone, improving joints and enhancing coordination of movements
  • Speech therapy
  • A healthy diet that includes fermented milk products, fish, poultry meat, vegetables, fruits, and cereals, too, helps maintain the proper balance. Also, fish oil has been proved to enhance cognition.

Note: 

  • Caffeine has been found to have a protective effect on the brain, therefore, reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease. 
  • Somebody who smokes cigarettes is less prone to develop Parkinson’s compared to people that don’t smoke.
  • Long term or regular use of Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) has been shown to reduce the chance of developing Parkinson’s Disease by 15%.