Parkinson’s disease, also known as Idiopathic or Primary ParkinsonismHypokinetic Rigid SyndromeParalysis Agitans, is a progressive movement disorder that affects movement. It can lead to stiffness, tremors, difficulty in walking, maintaining balance, and coordination. This disease starts with barely noticeable shaking in hand.

It occurs because of damaged neurons present in the specific part of the brain. Nerve cells play a significant role in producing a hormone called Dopamine that is responsible for controlling body movement. When the nerve cells of substantia nigra are damaged, the production of dopamine deduces, the brain is not able to work correctly, which results in impaired movements. It is an intensifying disorder that affects movement.

Parkinson’s disease is classical and among the most treatable, common form of parkinsonism. It can also occur at an early age, but it is more likely to happen at an elderly age. It leads to abnormalities like difficulty in walking, coordination, and balance. Along with other movement disorders like Tourette syndrome, it also induces movement disabilities. It was first described as “Shaking Palsy” by James Parkinson in 1817.

What Are The Types Of Parkinson’s Disease Or Parkinsonism?

These are the Parkinson Plus Syndrome/atypical forms of parkinsonism:

Cortico Basal Degeneration (CBD)

Cortico Basal Degeneration (CBD) is a rare type of parkinsonism and affects people with 40 years of age. It tends to affect one side of the body and gradually spreads. It occurs by tau that is formed in the brain and can’t be regenerated by the brain itself. CBD usually occurs by the damage of Basal ganglia or the Cerebral Cortex. Symptoms of CBD may vary patient to patient, but some common ones are difficulty in swallowing food i.e dysphagia, problems linked with body movement e.g dystonia, muscular stiffness.

Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB):

It is a kind of Dementia. Dementia is a condition that affects the brain causing problems in thinking and memory. Dementia with Lewy bodies is caused by the build-up protein of the brain i.e. Lewy body. People with DLB tends to have visual hallucinations. It is less common as compared to Alzheimer’s disease, but it shares many symptoms like memory loss, misperceptions, etc.

Multiple System Atrophy (MSA):

It is a non-infectious nervous disorder which is likely to arise at the age of 30-60, impacting older adult as well. Multiple System Atrophy occurs due to the abundance of a protein inside the brain, called synuclein, which results in the degeneration of neurons. Distinctive symptoms include difficulty identifying familiar faces and stuff, depression, fainting, sensitivity to neuroleptic medications, etc.

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP):

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy is also called as Steele-Richardson-Olszewski syndrome, under the names of three physicians who instigated this condition for the first time. It is a neurodegenerative disorder that results in physical as well as mental weakening. It involves pathological accumulation of the tau protein in some areas of the brain and this tau form clusters that damage neurons. For these reasons, it is may also lead to Cortico Basal degeneration (CBD) disorder.

Types Of Brain Disorders Resembling Parkinson’s Disease:

Common pressure Hydrocephalus:

It resembles Parkinson’s disease as this disease also shows symptoms like difficulty in walking, thinking, controlling the urinary bladder. But the primary cause of Common Pressure Hydrocephalus is distinctive as it is due to excessive accumulation of Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles inside the brain.

Vascular parkinsonism:

It is referred to as vascular parkinsonism because of the similarities between some symptoms like unsteady gait, corticospinal dysfunction like spasticity.

Drug-induced parkinsonism:

This condition appears when the symptoms worsen after the use of medicines. But it is a reversible process.

Parkinson's Disease Symptoms

What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease?

Leading Symptoms Associated With Parkinson’s Disease

Bradykinesia:

It slows down movement, thus make your tasks difficult, and they become time-consuming.

Stiffness of Muscles:

Muscles of any part of the body become rigid, which resist the range of motion, and the muscles become painful.

Tremor:

Tremors or shaking begins from the hand up to the limb when the limb is in a relaxing position. It is the most common condition among all, and it gradually spreads to cause shaking of head, trunk, or legs.

Other Symptoms Associated With Parkinson’s Disease

  • Nerve pain
  • Loss of balance
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Urine incontinence
  • Problem in speech
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Blurred vision
  • Problem in writing
  • Increased production of saliva
  • Insomnia

Cognitive Symptoms Associated With Parkinson’s Disease

What Causes Parkinson’s Disease?

As the exact cause of this disease is unclear. So a few reasons that instigate Parkinson’s disease are listed below:

  • Damaged neurons that lead to impaired body movement
  • Deduced dopamine levels
  • Low levels of norepinephrine
  • Environmental factors including pollution
  • Production of Lewy bodies containing alpha-synuclein inside the brain
  • Medications, as some medicines may cause antipsychotic irritabilities but can be recovered as soon as the medication stops
  • Genetic factors as it may be hereditary
  • • Cerebrovascular conditions like several small strokes occur or strokes like symptoms appear which do not progress. This might also damage up to neuronal levels.
  • Autoimmune factors like Rheumatoid arthritis may lead to Parkinson’s disease.

How to diagnose Parkinson’s disease?

For the diagnosis, a specialist like Neurologists or Geriatrician is to be consulted. There is no specific diagnostic test present for Parkinson’s disease; however, the physician diagnoses Parkinson’s disease by taking the patient’s medical history and conducting neurological examinations. One of the imaging techniques called DaTscan( a type of SPECT scan) is being used by the physician to predict the Dopamine level, which helps in the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. A patient may also be asked to perform certain physical activities to diagnose any issue related to movement.

What Is The Treatment Of Parkinson’s Disease?

Early diagnosis has shown to provide improved chances of treatment. There is no cure for Parkinson’s diseases but there are few treatments that can control the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and providing a healthier life, stated below:

  • Helpful therapies like speech therapy for better communication, cognitive therapies, psychological therapies to treat depression or anxiety. Therapies to prevent dysphagia, some activities to relieve muscular pain or Physiotherapy.
  • Medications to improvise levels of dopamine and norepinephrine. Such as dopamine agonists or levodopa. Parenteral route of administration may also be considered when a patient is unable to take medicines via the oral route. Parenterals, like Apomorphine, has shown positive effects.
  • Implantation of a pulse generator for the provision of signals to the brain artificially.
  • A therapist also suggests lifestyle changes and Physical Exercises get relief from the condition.

These treatments aren’t promising but have shown to provide a better life with ease.

Parkinson's Disease - Idiopathic - Primary Parkinsonism - Paralysis Agitans

Who Is More Likely To Suffer Paralysis Agitans?

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder. More than 50,000 patients are diagnosed with PD every year in the U.S.A and more than 10 million around the globe. The dependency factors associated with this disease are:

Age:

People develop Parkinson’s disease at 60 years of age. It usually occurs in the middle to late life.

Heredity:

Having a family history of Paralysis Agitans increases the chances of Parkinson’s disease.

Exposure to toxins:

Continuous exposure to toxins increases the risk of Parkinson’s disease.

Ethnicity:

According to the latest research, PD prevalence is dependent on Ethnic factors. Researchers are devoting their time to provide with precise results.

What Complications Are Likely To Occur By Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s Disease FAQs

Question 1

What is the difference between Parkinson’s disease and Parkinsonism?
Answer: Parkinsonism is a descriptive term that includes all of the neurological disorders that results in impaired movement. It comes under the shade of Parkinsonism with almost a majority of similar symptoms with no proper diagnostic strategy.

Question 2

What is Parkinson’s disease or Paralysis Agitans?
Answer: It is a neurodegenerative disorder that causes abnormalities in movement.

Question 3

Which gender is more prone to Parkinson’s disease?
Answer: Men are more prone to develop this disease as compared to women.

Question 4

What causes Parkinson’s disease?
Answer: It is caused by the loss of nerve cells in the specific part of the brain called the substantia nigra.

Question 5

How does the pulse generator help in Parkinson’s disease?
Answer: Its work is similar to that of a pacemaker in the heart. Wires are implanted inside the skin up to the specific parts of the brain to ensure the provision of nerve impulses in a smoother way.

Question 6

How to prevent Parkinson’s disease?
Answer: A healthy lifestyle is vital to prevent this disease. Increased intake of antioxidants having curcumin and flavonoids, the use of less oily products, and products with less artificial substances help prevent PD.

Question 7: Is Parkinson’s disease curable?

Answer: No, there is no cure until yet. But there are good treatment strategies to live a better life.

References

  • Information for researchers at Parkinson Organization United States Of America (USA)
    parkinson.org
  • Charity and the Parkinson’s Disease Society of the United Kingdom (UK)
    parkinsons.org.uk