Often the leading cause of this disease is stress and yet the major section of the people affected by it derives it from hereditary.
— Odi Bruckman (@odibro) January 30, 2020
The studies show that the key feature of Parkinson’s disease is a protein named α-synuclein, which accumulates in an abnormal form in brain cells causing them to degenerate and die.
However, it has been difficult to target α-synuclein because it does not have a fixed structure and keeps changing its shape, making it very difficult for drugs to target.
Because higher levels of the protein in the brain speed the degeneration of brain cells, scientists have been looking for ways to decrease protein production as a form of treatment.
Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
Let us get to the symptoms that can help us prevent them at the earliest or better yet not invite them unto our lives at all.
- A tremor, or shaking, usually begins in a limb, often your hand or fingers.
- Slowed movement (bradykinesia).
- Rigid muscles.
- Impaired posture and balance.
- Loss of automatic movements.
- Speech changes.
- Writing changes.
Let us further dig in deeper to understand how they affect our lives If neglected and what kind of treatment do, they require.
Parkinson’s Disease Causes
Parkinson’s disease has an unusual way to appear when the nerve cells (neurons) in the brain gradually break down or die. Many of the symptoms are due to a loss of neurons that produce a chemical messenger in your brain called dopamine.
When dopamine levels decrease, it causes abnormal brain activity, leading to symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
The cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown, but several factors appear to play a role, including:
Substances that form a clump within the brain cells are microscopic markers of Parkinson’s disease. These are called Lewy bodies, and researchers do believe these Lewy bodies hold an important clue to the cause of Parkinson’s disease.
Alpha-synuclein & Lewy bodies:
Although many substances are found within Lewy bodies, scientists believe an important one is a natural and widespread protein called alpha-synuclein (a-synuclein). It’s found in all Lewy bodies in a clumped form that cells can’t break down. This is currently an important focus on Parkinson’s disease researchers.
Researchers have identified specific genetic mutations that can cause Parkinson’s disease. But these are uncommon except in rare cases with many family members affected by Parkinson’s disease.
However, certain gene variations appear to increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease but with a relatively small risk of Parkinson’s disease for each of these genetic markers.
Exposure to certain toxins or environmental factors may increase the risk of later Parkinson’s disease, but the risk is relatively small.
Read More: THE BRAIN-HEART CONNECTION
Parkinson’s Disease Consequences
. Young adults rarely experience Parkinson’s disease. It ordinarily begins in middle or late life, and the risk increases with age. People usually develop the disease around age 60 or older.
Having a close relative with Parkinson’s disease increases the chances that you’ll develop the disease. However, your risks are still small unless you have many relatives in your family with Parkinson’s disease.
Men are more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than are women.
Exposure to toxins:
Ongoing exposure to herbicides and pesticides may slightly increase your risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is often accompanied by these additional problems, which may be treatable:
You may experience cognitive problems (dementia) and thinking difficulties. These usually occur in the later stages of Parkinson’s disease. Such cognitive problems aren’t very responsive to medications.
Depression and emotional changes:
You may experience depression, sometimes in the very early stages. Receiving treatment for depression can make it easier to handle the other challenges of Parkinson’s disease.
You may also experience other emotional changes, such as fear, anxiety or loss of motivation. Doctors may give you medications to treat these symptoms.
You may develop difficulties with swallowing as your condition progresses. Saliva may accumulate in your mouth due to slowed swallowing, leading to drooling.
Chewing and eating problems:
Late-stage Parkinson’s disease affects the muscles in your mouth, making chewing difficult. This can lead to choking and poor nutrition.
Sleep problems and sleep disorders:
People with Parkinson’s disease often have sleep problems, including waking up frequently throughout the night, waking up early or falling asleep during the day.
Adding, people may experience rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder, which involves acting out your dreams. Medications may help your sleep problems.
Bladder problems: Parkinson’s disease may cause bladder problems, including being unable to control urine or having difficulty urinating.
Constipation: Many people with Parkinson’s disease develop constipation, mainly due to a slower digestive tract.
One might also experience:
Blood pressure changes: You may feel dizzy or lightheaded when you stand due to a sudden drop in blood pressure (orthostatic hypotension).
Smell dysfunction: You may experience problems with your sense of smell. You may have difficulty identifying certain odours or the difference between odours.
Fatigue: Many people with Parkinson’s disease lose energy and experience fatigue, especially later in the day. The cause isn’t always known.
Pain: Some people with Parkinson’s disease experience pain, either in specific areas of their bodies or throughout their bodies.
Sexual dysfunction: Some people with Parkinson’s disease notice a decrease in sexual desire or performance.
Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosis
The experts say, “Currently, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, and it is truly a devastating disease. For the first time, we discovered a drug-like compound that has the potential to slow down the disease before it advances through an entirely new approach”.
Neurologists diagnose Parkinson’s disease with several tests mentioned:
Post reviewing the medical history of the patient the doctor may suggest a specific single-photon emission computerized tomography SPECT scan called a dopamine transporter (DAT) scan.
Lab tests, such as blood tests, to rule out other conditions that may be causing your symptoms. Along with the test Imaging test is the one that follows to analyze the severity of the disease.
Imaging tests — such as MRI, CT, ultrasound of the brain, and PET scans — may also be used to help rule out other disorders. Imaging tests aren’t particularly helpful for diagnosing Parkinson’s disease.
In addition to this testing examination, the doctor may give you carbidopa-levodopa (Rytary, Sinemet, others), a Parkinson’s disease medication. These doses should be given in sufficient quantity depending on the patient’s capacity.
Parkinson’s Disease Treatment
Parkinson’s disease can’t be cured, but medications can help control the symptoms, often dramatically. In some later cases, surgery may be advised.
Parkinson’s Disease Medications
Medications may help you manage problems with walking, movement and tremor. These medications increase or substitute for dopamine.
People with Parkinson’s disease have low brain dopamine concentrations. However, dopamine can’t be given directly, as it can’t enter your brain.
You may have significant improvement of your symptoms after beginning Parkinson’s disease treatment. Over time, however, the benefits of drugs frequently diminish or become less consistent. You can usually still control your symptoms fairly well.