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Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the central nervous system. It is a progressive disorder and happens when the nerve cells in the substantia nigra degenerate leading to impaired or dead nerve cells. This causes uncontrollable or unintended movements, like stiffness, difficulty with balance, coordination and shaking.
Most patients develop Parkinson’s disease after 60 years old, while about 5 to 10% develop it before 50 years of age . Here’s a quick look at the symptoms, causes, prevention and treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
|Symptoms||Decrease in the ability to smell, cramped and small handwriting, stooped posture, voice changes|
|Complications||Thinking difficulties, depression, swallowing problems, bladder problems, constipation, eating and chewing problems, sleep disorders|
|Causes||Genetics, Environmental factors (Exact causes not known yet)|
|Onset||Middle age or late life (most common in people of 60 years old and above)|
|Diagnosis||CAT scan, MRI and dopamine test|
|Prevention||Physical exercise and antioxidant-rich diet|
Here is a detailed overview of Parkinson’s disease and its symptoms, types, diagnosis, treatment and complications. Read on!
Parkinson’s disease has four primary symptoms :
Further, here are some other symptoms of the disorder:
The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and their rate of progression vary from person to person. The first symptoms are difficult to notice and occur slowly. For instance, a patient might face difficulty getting up from a chair or feel mild tremors.
These symptoms generally begin at one side of the patient’s body or one limb. With time, the disease progresses and affects both sides. Nevertheless, the severity of these symptoms can vary from one side to another.
There are several genetic and environmental factors that cause Parkinson’s disease:
For several years, scientists studied DNA from patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Upon comparing them, they found dozens of gene mutations related to Parkinson’s. As such, genetic factors are the causes of 10% to 15% of Parkinson’s disease worldwide.
The interaction between the environment and genes can be complex. The environmental factors associated with Parkinson’s disease are the area of residence, exposure to pesticides, head injury, and more.
The three main types of Parkinson’s disease are as follows 
This is the most common type of Parkinson’s disease. The causes of this disorder are still unknown. Idiopathic Parkinson’s have symptoms, such as rigidity, tremor and slow movement.
Those with a limited blood supply to the brain suffer from vascular Parkinsonism. Further, individuals with mild stroke have a chance of developing this form of Parkinson’s disease. Some of the most common symptoms are problems with sleep, memory, movement and mood.
Neuroleptic drugs that block dopamine action in the brain are the biggest causes of drug-induced Parkinsonism. This form of PD affects fewer people. Most patients tend to recover within a few months of stopping the intake of the drug.
You should go to your healthcare provider if you notice any symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. This is important not only in diagnosing the condition but also in ruling out the other causes of the symptoms.
There are presently no tests that can identify Parkinson’s disease in a person. A medical healthcare professional will conduct a diagnosis based on the patient’s symptoms, physical examination and medical history.
A general physician will enquire the patient about the symptoms they are experiencing and might ask to perform some basic physical and mental tasks, such as walking. As the symptoms of the disease are quite mild, it is difficult to identify the disease at an early stage. 
The complications of Parkinson’s disease can lower a person’s quality of life. For instance, people suffering from PD might experience blood clots in legs and lungs. These severe complications can turn out to be fatal. However, proper treatment can enhance prognosis and increase life expectancy.
There are no medications to cure Parkinson’s disease; however, medicines, therapies and surgical treatment can sometimes relieve the symptoms  .
Medications for Parkinson’s Disease
Several medications help treat the symptoms of PD:
The primary medication for Parkinson’s disease is levodopa. This medicine produces dopamine to restore the diminishing supply in the brain. Generally, carbidopa is taken alongside levodopa. Carbidopa helps reduce the side effects of levodopa, like restlessness, low blood pressure, vomiting and nausea.
People suffering from Parkinson’s disease should not stop levodopa intake without telling the doctor. This is because if a person stops the medication all of a sudden, it can cause severe side effects, such as difficulty in breathing and movement.
Additionally, a doctor might suggest taking other medicines that help treat the symptoms of PD:
Deep Brain Stimulation
In case the medications do not work, the doctor might recommend you to undergo deep brain stimulation. While conducting this surgical procedure, the doctor will implant electrodes in the patient’s brain and connect them to an electrical device that will be implanted in the chest. This device and the electrodes stimulate certain points in the brain and stop several movement-related PD symptoms, such as slow movement, tremors and rigidity.
Also, there are other therapies that can help manage the symptoms of PD:
As the reasons why Parkinson’s disease progresses are not clear, researchers and doctors cannot suggest ways to prevent it. However, several lifestyle factors, such as having an antioxidant-rich diet and physical exercise, can be beneficial.
People with a family history of PD should consider opting for genetic testing to identify PD before the symptoms worsen.
Here are the complications of Parkinson’s disease:
Although the cost of medication tends to remain the same for all cities in India, the surgery costs will vary based on the standard of living in the city. The table below illustrates the treatment cost of PD in some of the major cities in India:
|City||Cost of Surgery|
|Mumbai||₹2 lakh to ₹ 20 lakh|
|Delhi||₹ 1.5 lakh to ₹ 18 lakh|
|Hyderabad||₹ 1.3 lakh to ₹ 17 lakh|
|Bangalore||₹ 2 lakh to ₹ 20 lakh|
|Chennai||₹ 1.5 lakh to ₹ 18 lakh|
Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the central nervous system that affects the day-to-day life of people with this progressive health condition. Though doctors and researchers do not know the actual causes of the disease, environmental and genetic factors might play a role. Eating antioxidant-rich foods and leading an active lifestyle can help prevent the onset of this disease. However, if you or your near ones start showing early symptoms, consider consulting a licensed doctor and getting started with the treatment.
For diseases like Parkinson’s where your life’s savings could easily wash out, it is advisable to stay covered with a comprehensive health insurance policy. With unlimited online consultations, 10,000+ network hospitals, yearly check-ups, hassle-free claims, and several other benefits, Navi Health Insurance helps you glide through medical emergencies easily. Monthly premiums start at just Rs.234! Get a quote now!
Several genetic, environmental and exposure to toxins are some of the causes of acquiring Parkinson’s disease .
Here are some of the primary symptoms of PD: Tremor Postural instability Bradykinesia Rigidity
It is important to note that there is not any specific test available to diagnose PD. A neurologist will diagnose the condition based on the patient's medical history, physical and neurological examination and symptoms.
No, presently, there is no blood test that can help identify Parkinson’s disease in a person. However, a doctor might suggest several other tests to identify the disease that is causing the symptoms.
People affected with Parkinson's disease have their body leaned slightly forward and have a hunched posture instead of being upright.
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