What Is Parkinson's Disease?
Parkinson's disease is a medical condition affecting the nervous system of the body. This condition may affect how the person moves, how they speak and how they write. The condition starts off gradually with slight tremors in one hand which may lead to stiffness and difficulty in carrying out certain movements as easily and as rapidly as before. This characteristic is called bradykinesia and brings about muscle weakness and unusual posturing.
Parkinson's disease affects more males than females. It affects people who are 50 years old or older. However, it can also occur in those younger than 40 years old in about 4-5 % of cases. The characteristics of patients who have Parkinson's disease include tremors, slow movements, fixed and inexpressive face, poor control over facial muscle coordination and poor control of movement. These patients may also have a stooping posture which appears very unusual. Parkinson's disease can affect speech, limb movement and the sense of smell. Experts say that hyposmia or the loss of one's sense of smell with no known cause may be a marker for Parkinson’s disease.
There are certain factors that can increase the risk for Parkinson's disease. One is rapid eye movement or REM sleep behavior disorder. Another is the consumption of reheated cooking oils containing aldehydes which have also been linked to Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, as well as some cancers. Parkinson’s disease is primarily caused by low and falling dopamine levels. Low dopamine levels can make it difficult for people to execute movement. The lower the dopamine levels are, the more severe the symptoms of Parkinson's disease are.
Parkinson's disease is a progressive illness; it may worsen over time. It is a long-term incurable disease.
Parkinson's Disease Symptoms Can Be Relieved By Deep Brain Stimulation
A recent study has shown that deep brain stimulation can relieve symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Deep brain stimulation is a type of treatment that has been said to improve motor symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases. A new study shows that deep brain stimulation can actually decrease the number and severity of non motor symptoms of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) as well. The results of this study are published in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease.
It is to be recalled that non motor features are common in patients with Parkinson's disease in almost all stages yet they are often under recognized by health professionals. However these symptoms can have a huge impact on a patient's quality of life.
In previous studies, it has been found out that deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) is effective in relieve sleep problems and fatigue which may be present in Parkinson's disease. It can also improve sleep efficiency and sleep quality as well as nighttime and early morning dystonia. Thus deep brain stimulation can lead to better sleep, less daytime somnolence, improved mobility, and less need for dopamine replacement therapy in patients with Parkinson's disease. However, therapists need to exercise caution because while deep brain stimulation often relieves psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, transient psychotic symptoms such as delirium may emerge in the immediate post-operative period. More studies are actually needed to determine the true effects of deep brain stimulation on patients with neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease.
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