Parkinson’s Disease or PD is a debilitating condition found mostly in elderly individuals. In this condition, the patient has no control over their muscles, making their life unmanageable. Moreover, they are unable to move about on their own. The person is dependent on other family members. In the west, PD patients are usually sent to an Old Age Home, but due to the family values here in Pakistan, elderly people are usually kept at home. Read on to know more about this illness.
Symptoms of PD
PD is a progressive disease of the nervous system marked by severe tremors all throughout the body. The patient also suffers from muscular rigidity, and round the clock quivering of the extremities. There is involuntary movement throughout the body, chiefly affecting middle-aged and elderly people. The patient is unable to hold anything, let alone feed himself. Any type of weight lifting is impossible. Common symptoms include the inability of the patient to even take a bath on their own. Parkinson’s patients have to be assisted in everyday chores. The disease is associated with degeneration of the basal ganglia of the brain and a deficiency of the neurotransmitter dopamine.
If the nerve cells in the brain (neurons) start dying, then there would be a shortage of certain chemical messengers (neurotransmitters). These neurotransmitters convey messages to other neurons through electric impulses. These neuro-transmitters command motor function muscles. A known neuro-transmitter is dopamine which is responsible for the motor functions of the body. These neurotransmitters convey messages to motor muscles. A deficiency of dopamine leads to abnormal motor functions. In fact, symptoms of Parkinson’s are almost fatal as the patient might have a fall due to symptoms associated with Parkinson’s Disease.
• Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD)
• Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB)
• Drug-induced Parkinsonism. When a psychiatric patient is treated for psychosis, Extra Pyramidal Side Effects develop which are parkinsonian in nature.
• Essential Tremor. This can be due to anxiety or PD. Medicines like Inderal might help.
• Multiple System Atrophy (MSA). Obviously, when the muscles are left idle, they will atrophy or become useless due to non-use.
• Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP)
• Vascular (Arteriosclerotic) Parkinsonism. This is blood flow disorder in the arteries which results in tremor, shaking and related side effects of Parkinsonism
Primarily, no specific test exists to diagnose Parkinson’s disease. A doctor trained in nervous system conditions (neurologist) will diagnose Parkinson’s disease based on your medical history, a review of your signs and symptoms, and a neurological and physical examination.
Here are common symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease:
Shaking or Resting Tremor: Trembling of a hand or foot that happens when the patient is at rest and typically stops when he or she is active or moving.
Bradykinesia: Slowness of movement in the limbs, face, walking or overall body.
Treatment and Medication
Let this be very clear that no injections are administered in the course of PD. Only medication is used in PD.
• Carbidopa-levodopa. Levodopa is an effective medication for Parkinson’s disease. It is a natural chemical that passes into your brain through the blood-brain barrier and is converted to dopamine. Remember, there is no invasive procedure involved in trying to control PD.
• Carbidopa-levodopa infusion
• Dopamine agonists. In pharmacology, agonists are those medicines (not drugs) that increase the level of the neurotransmitters in question. These are medicines that increase the level of dopamine in the brain.
• MAO B inhibitors
• Catechol O-methyltransferase(COMT) inhibitors
• Anticholinergic. Anticholinergic drugs inhibit the transmission of parasympathetic nerve impulses. They reduce spasms of smooth muscles such as those in the bladder. Side effects of anticholinergic medications include dry mouth and related dental problems, blurred vision, a tendency toward overheating (hyperpyrexia), and in some cases, dementia-like symptoms
• Amantadine. People suffering from Parkinson’s Disease often need assistance and care. We can provide caregiving services to patients at their homes.
Holistic Healthcare (Pvt.) Limited has been providing caregiving and nursing services to patients affected by PD in Lahore and other major cities in Punjab. Call us today at 03000 341 678 to know more about our services and talk with our health care professionals.