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Understanding Parkinsons Disease - PlacidWay

Understanding Parkinson's Disease


Parkinson's disease is a neuromuscular condition that affects movement of the muscles in the body.  One unmistakable sign of Parkinson's disease is uncontrollable shaking or trembling of an extremity. Such tremors can start in a fingertip and move up through the hand to the wrist joint, the elbow joint, and the shoulder joint, affecting an individual's ability to control the upper torso.

Millions of people around the world been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, many of them over 55 years of age. Parkinson's disease affects a specific area in the brain called the basal ganglia. Basal ganglia brain cells define how the body engages or performs certain movements such as walking. The basal ganglia is also responsible for posture and muscle tone, and when the basal ganglia are damaged, either through gradual damage or total destruction of the cells, individuals experience jerky and uncoordinated movements that make movement and mobility extremely difficult.


How Parkinson's Disease Affects the Body


Parkinson's disease causes mobility issues such as changes in muscle movement and ability to walk. Those diagnosed with the condition often experience slowed movements, rigid muscles, tremors and altered gait. In addition to the physical symptoms, Parkinson's disease may cause changes in cognitive ability, anxiety, incontinence, interrupted sleep cycles, sexual dysfunction and depression.


Benefits of Parkinsons Disease Treatment

Benefits of Parkinson's Disease Treatments

As of yet, there is no cure for Parkinson's disease, but numerous treatments and therapies are available to help reduce the symptoms, improve mobility and quality of life.  Currently, treatment for many Parkinson's disease symptoms relies on a drug called dopamine. Dopamine is found in brain cells and acts as a messenger that instructs brain cells how to grow, develop and function. Without dopamine, instructions cannot be transmitted to all areas of the brain and the individual diagnosed with Parkinson's may experience slowed movement, jerky movement, or disruption of movement.


Basic drugs used today include:

  • Anti-cholinergic
  • Antiviral
  • Dopamine or replacement agents (known as  agonists)
  • Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors

Other Parkinson's Disease Treatments available are:

  • Stem Cell Technologies are under development, utilizing adult, embryonic, and umbilical stem cell therapies, in addition to clinical trials regarding the harvesting and implantation of adipose derived stem cells.  Autologous bone marrow derived stem cell transplant studies are underway in the United States, although some of the above listed techniques are being performed in other countries with positive results.
  • Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) are undergoing clinical trials, according to the CDC, for the treatment of neuromuscular conditions such as Parkinson's disease. One of the newest protocols for the treatment of patients diagnosed with Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) includes a spinal Haacke MRI-protocol combined with duplex sonography, for earlier diagnosis and treatment options.
  • Deep Brain Stimulation is another method of reducing symptoms, and involves the placement of electrical stimulators in specific areas of the brain. Sensory attention focused exercise (SAFEx) are also being studied.


Who Treats Parkinson's Disease?

While there is no cure for Parkinson's disease, medications that treat movement-related symptoms, antidepressants, and medications prescribed for cognitive disabilities, sleep disorders, and those that focus on severe side effects including hallucinations are currently on the market.

Doctors or specialists in neurological fields, and those who focus on Parkinson's disease are involved in ongoing patient care. When looking for a Parkinson's disease specialist or neurologist, choose one recognized by an association or organization of neurological surgeons in your city, province or country. Neurological specialists, doctors and surgeons should be board certified by organizations in country of origin or by international neurological associations and organizations.

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