Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder that affects the nervous system. It progresses gradually and is seen mostly in middle-aged and elderly people.
What happens in Parkinson’s disease?
In a patient afflicted by Parkinson’s disease, nerve cells in the brain, known as neurons, either break down or die over a period of time. Neurons are responsible for the production of dopamine, which carries signals from the brain to other parts of the body. The gradual deterioration of neurons leads to reduction of dopamine, slowing down communication between neurons and other nerve cells. This greatly affects a person’s movements and hence, Parkinson’s disease is known as a movement disorder.
Causes of Parkinson’s disease:
While research is still being conducted about the exact cause of Parkinson‘s disease, following are considered to be the two main factors:
- Genetics: Specific gene variations have been established to increase a person’s risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Also, your chances of developing this disorder increase if any of your family members have it too.
- Environmental triggers: Being exposed to certain toxins or pollutants might make you a likely target for Parkinson’s disease.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease:
Different people with Parkinson’s disease may experience different intensities and combinations of symptoms.Apart from the earliest signs of fatigue and uneasiness; following are the most common symptoms of this disease:
- Uncontrolled body movements: Due to the slowness of communication between the brain and other parts of the body, an individual with Parkinson’s disease might experience tremors in the limbs or facial regions. They might also experience involuntary shaking of the head and drooling.
- Changes in posture and gait: These changes include leaning forward or backward, losing balance easily, a stooped posture, inability to coordinate the movement of hands and legs while walking, and difficulty maneuvering turns and around obstacles.
- Rigid and painful muscles: Since people affected by Parkinson’s disease lose control over their muscles to a certain degree, they experience uncontrolled stiffening of limbs, accompanied by pain in the affected regions.
- Slower and inhibited movement: This symptom, also known as bradykinesia, occurs due to the slow transmission of directions from the brain to other body parts. A Parkinson’s patient finds it difficult to make sudden actions, and even regular tasks can become difficult to carry out.
- Mental health issues: People suffering from Parkinson’s disease often experience depression, anxiety, dementia, phobias, confusion, memory problems, etc.
Many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are ones that are associated with other diseases and can also be attributed to daily stress. Since the symptoms of this disorder build gradually and do not appear all at once, it may be difficult to diagnose it at an early stage. If you’re experiencing any or a combination of symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, consult an Apollo Expert on Ask Apollo today.