Parkinson's Disease- Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Diagnosis

Parkinson's Disease- Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Diagnosis

ParkinsonParkinson’s disease is an ailment of the nervous system, also known as paralysis agitans, in which muscular stiffness, tautness and quavers develop, becoming worse with the passage of time. The condition is atypical in people below the age of 50, and more common in men than in women. About two people in 1000 develop Parkinson’s disease every year. The onset of symptoms is gradual, and the first stages of this disease may pass unnoticed.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

The first symptoms of this ailment include tremors in the hands, arms and legs and rhythmic nodding of the head. The hands may tremble involuntarily, as if a pill were being rolled between the thumb and the fingers. The tremors are generally worse while a patient is resting than while he or she is moving about. They tend, however, to disappear during sleep.

Gradually the muscles of the face begin to stiffen up. Patients begin to stare with a blank, un-blinking expression or develop a slight frown. As the ailment progresses, limbs become stiff and resist movement, and walking becomes more and more difficult. Patients tend to stoop and shuffle, taking only small steps. In severe cases, they may find it easier to walk backwards than forwards.

Causes of Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is caused by degeneration of the ganglia at the base of the brain. This disease usually occurs in middle age, often resulting from atheroma. This is basically narrowing of the arteries, due to fatty deposits on the artery walls that obstruct the blood flow to the brain.
In some cases Parkinson’s disease may cause death if the muscles of respiration start getting affected.

Treatment of Parkinson’s disease at home

The damage of Parkinson’s disease cannot be reversed, but a great deal can be done to lessen the affects and support the patients at home. The essentials of such treatment are to encourage as much physical exercise and social contact as possible. Doctors, nurses, occupational therapists and physiotherapists can all help, but the main burden of such support primarily falls on relatives and friends whose efforts are often crucial to the patient.

In addition to support from friends and family, doctors may also prescribe drugs to patients for relieving stiffness and tremors.

Although Parkinson’s disease is a condition which worsens with the passing of time, the forms of treatment available often, considerably slow down its progress bringing marked relief of the symptoms.

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