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Dr. Subhash Kaul, Friday, November 8, 2019

What is Parkinson’s disease[PD]?

Parkinson’s disease targets on the nervous system.Although these symptoms vary from person to person the common symptoms are tremor and stiffness during movements.

Unable to swing your hand in the usual way, or showing facial expressions or the voice getting distorted are some of the symptoms that one can notice in the early stages which gradually worsens as it progresses.

The disease, unfortunately, cannot be cured. A few minor surgeries in your brain in certain areas can minimalize the symptoms and help you go about your life smoothly which of course is in rare cases only.

Parkinson’s disease goes unnoticed in most of the cases in the initial stages usually taking years for it to show the progress and is classified as the neurodegenerative brain disorder that affects the brain leading to severe distress in motor movements.

Dopamine is a chemical that is produced in the brain that helps in transmitting signals from the brain to the body conveying expressions and emotions and enabling them to perform any sort of movement in the body. The neurons(brain cells) produce dopamine.These cells are located in a certain area of the brain called Substantia Nigra. When 60-80% of the cells get damaged the production of dopamine reduces hampering the normal function of the body as said earlier.This phenomenon is treated as Neurodegeneration.

A study called Braak’s hypothesis suggests that PD initially affects the enteric nervous system, the medulla, the olfactory bulb which are related to the non-motor symptoms like smell, sleep disorders, hyposmia, constipation which over the years move to the cortex and Substantia Nigra affecting the motor movements in the long run. Hence, the analysts are focusing on these symptoms so that they can effectively treat the PD in the earlier stages itself.

The symptoms are the most unusual and quite hard to detect as they not only vary from person to person but also they do not have a schematic order. Yet they have classified into different stages based on the way the disease progresses.

The research has led to certain revelations. The Hoehn and Yahr stages are one of the scales the doctors rely on to analyse the stage of the Parkinson’s diseasewhich will in-turn help in the process of its treatment.This generally gives an input on how the motor symptoms gradually progresses into PD. The Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale(UPDR) is yet another criterion which analyses Parkinson’s disease based on non-motor symptoms which includes moods and responses; and sociability.

If one had to go by the facts its’ still hard to find out whether the patient is suffering from Parkinson’s disease. As discussed earlier, the disease manifests slowly often getting detected at a stage that cannot be treated successfully. According to study, the symptoms are very tricky to analyse as they look too simple when you consider the simplest non-motor symptoms such as the sleeping disorder or constipation for that matter.It is your physician who is the best judge in helping you deal with it.



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