Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease. It occurs due to degeneration of central nervous system. It results in deficiency of chemical ‘dopamine’ in the central nervous system. Sometimes it can occur due to certain drugs, chemicals, stroke and head injury.

Symptoms:

Patients experience shaking of hands that usually starts from one side but then gradually involves the other side over months. Patients also experiences stiffness in the body. Patients become very slow. As disease progresses over the years, patients may develop problems with memory and some psychiatric issues as well.

Treatment:

Principle of treatment is replacing dopamine that is deficient in central nervous system. Patient has to take pills 3 to 4 times a day. As disease progresses, treatment may need to be built up. Some patients get help from deep brain stimulation surgery. Physiotherapy plays an important role to keep patient mobile and healthy.

Diet:

There are no special dietary recommendations. As others, patient should take a balanced diet. If the patient has diabetes, hypertension or other conditions; patient should modify his diet accordingly.

Physiotherapy:

Physiotherapy is of paramount importance for patients of Parkinson’s disease. Regular visit to physiotherapist should be ensured to keep patient active and mobile. Gait training is essential.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the duration of treatment?

Treatment is usually lifelong.

What is the average age of disease onset?

Parkinson’s disease usually occurs in sixties but some patients can have early disease onset in their late thirties and forties.

What is the duration of treatment?

Treatment is usually lifelong.

Does the physiotherapy help?

Physiotherapy is essential for all Parkinson’s patients. Without physiotherapy patient may become bedridden. Patients should also keep themselves active. They should walk and exercise regularly.

Can Parkinson’s disease be cured?

No, not at moment. You can get almost normal quality of life with the treatment.

How quickly does the disease progress?

Parkinson’s disease usually progresses slowly over years.

Can I continue my job or work with Parkinson’s disease?

Yes in the beginning the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are very subtle and you can easily manage job or work. Later on, you can still do your work or job with some modifications.

Does Parkinson’s disease run in family?

Only in few cases this disease is hereditary.

Does Parkinson’s disease effect one or both sides of body?

Parkinson’s disease starts from one side and involves the other side over months in years. In very few patients it may be limited to just one side.

How to prevent falls in Parkinson’s disease patients?

Parkinson’s disease patients commonly experience falls especially in the later stages of disease. Falls are dangerous and can result in bone fractures and head injury. Discuss it with your doctor. Drug adjustment can help to prevent falls. Certain lifestyle measures can also decrease the possibility of falls like avoiding stairs and walking with cane or stick. Installation of handles and supports in washroom/toilet can also help. Patients of Parkinson’s disease should avoid wearing slippers. They should wear sandals with backstrap or sneakers.

What is deep brain stimulation surgery and can I get it done for Parkinson’s disease?

Deep brain stimulation surgery involves implantation of electrodes in the brain. It is a surgical process and carries certain risk. It cannot help all the patients. Only suitable patients can get it done after consultation with their neurophysician.

Why does patients of Parkinson’s disease have excessive salivation and how to treat it?

It is basically not excessive saliva production but decrease in swallowing movements that causes drooling. It can be helped a lot with drugs.

Can the patients with Parkinson’s disease drive?

In early disease, patients can manage to drive themselves. As the disease progresses, patients become increasingly slow and driving becomes difficult.

Can patients with Parkinson’s disease develop dementia?

Only some patients with Parkinson’s disease develop memory complaints that can be helped with drug treatment.

Does the patient with Parkinson’s disease develop visual hallucinations (seeing figures or someone who is not there)?

Yes, patients with Parkinson’s disease do develop visual hallucinations especially in advanced stages. This may be due to disease process or drug induced. It can be dealt effectively with drug treatment.

What is the average age of disease onset?

Parkinson’s disease usually occurs in sixties but some patients can have early disease onset in their late thirties and forties.

Disclaimer:
The information given here is intended for use of general public . It should not be taken as standard medical reference.

About the Author:

One of the most well known neurologists in Lahore, he is serving as Assistant Professor of Neurology at Lahore General Hospital. He is a graduate of King Edward Medical College and did residency in general medicine & neurology at Mayo Hospital Lahore. He did FCPS in neurology and moved to Lahore General Hospital, and has been working there since.

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