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Understanding Parkinson’s disease: 5 Important Facts You Must Know
Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder concerning the nervous system. The disease is characterized by difficulty in movement. It might begin with something as minor as a noticeable tremor and progress to more significant shaking. It is best to consult the best neuro physician in Hyderabad or whichever city you are at if you notice even minor symptoms. The patients of Parkinson’s often complain of stiff and rigid limbs. They also have difficulty in walking or movement. Speech of the patients might also get affected. Doctors are still unaware of the actual triggers of Parkinson’s. Since there’s no fixed cure for the disease, it’s important to understand the disease and take timely action if required. Let’s look at some of the facts associated with Parkinson’s:
- Parkinson’s is a brain disorder
As mentioned earlier, Parkinson’s is found in patients with damaged brain cells. These brain cells which are responsible for producing dopamine either die or don’t work properly. As a result of lesser dopamine production, the patient’s ability to control movement is hindered. Scientists have still not been able to establish what causes these cells to die.
- Age is a risk factor
Parkinson’s is mostly observed in patients who are 60 years old. 10% of the patients (usually with a family history of Parkinson’s) have an early onset before the age of 50 due to inheritance. It has also been observed that Parkinson’s affect men more than women.
- Symptoms progress gradually
The symptoms of Parkinson’s are usually observed in one side of the body and gradually affect the other side as well. The common symptoms include:
- Tremor of the hands, legs, arms, face and jaw
- Slow movements
- Stiffness in legs, arms and trunk
- Poor coordination and balance
As the disease progresses, the patient might find it difficult to talk, walk or accomplish basic tasks. The patients might also experience sleep related problems, depression, constipation and trouble swallowing or chewing. Memory- related problems are also faced by some.
- There is no lab test for Parkinson’s
No lab tests makes it difficult to diagnose the disease. Neurologists in Hyderabad and elsewhere usually study the person’s medical history and neurological exam to identify the disease. Whether dopamine levels in the brain are normal or low is found out using a dopamine transporter (DAT) scan. Consistent low levels are an indicator of Parkinson’s.
- Although there’s no cure, treatment can help
There are a variety of medicines available for managing Parkinson’s symptoms including the ones that increase dopamine levels in the brain. In severe cases, surgical options such as deep brain stimulation (DBS) might help. DBS involves the placement of electrodes in the patient’s brain which stimulate certain parts of the brain responsible for controlling movement.
Consulting the right neurologist is helpful in managing Parkinson’s disease.