Parkinson’s disease, no known cure

Our body has the natural tendency to oscillate, the innate periodic high frequency vibration that corresponds to the fast heart beat which is called tremor. It usually manifests when we are angry, tired, nervous or hungry which seen normal in individuals. However when shaking becomes un-physiologic, it may be a manifestation of Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative (brain) disorder characterized by shaking or tremors, difficulty with walking, slowness of movement, coordination and balance problems.

Parkinson's disease

There is no known cure for Parkinson’s disease. The goal of treatment is to control and relief from the symptoms through medication to enhance the function of the dopamine system in the brain. Its signs and symptoms vary depending on the range of loss of the brain nerve cells that contain the substance termed as dopamine, the nerve cell which controls the muscle movement. Upon manifestation of the signs and symptoms, studies have shown that about 70% of the brain’s dopamine have already been lost and destroyed.

The usual symptoms of Parkinson’s disease starts with a mild stiffness and tremor in one limb, the arm or the leg.  Performing usual tasks may be difficult like buttoning a shirt, writing, reading, sewing and even eating as involuntary movements and shaking manifests. Most likely in due course the symptoms would involve the other limbs, one or both sides of the body.  No facial expression appearing as in mask-like , difficulty in swallowing, slow blinking and patient would appear to shuffle while walking. Studies have shown that exercise can help in slowing down the disease process especially when done during the early stages.

Parkinson’s disease average onset is at 60 years old and may affect both men and women.  Some cases are sporadic while others who get the disease younger than 50 years old are familial or inherited.

Up to this day, the cause why dopamine wastes away is still unknown. Diagnosis and evaluation is based mostly on the signs and symptoms as well as clinical history. A thorough evaluation is crucial to come up with an accurate diagnosis, thus correct treatment will be implemented. The Parkinson’s disease Profile (PDP) and Tremor Analysis through Neuroscan is used by Neurologists for a detailed clinical and electro-physiologic evaluation of patients with the disorder.

 

Referrence: parkinsons.about.com/; webmd.com; health.nytimes.com/

Photo credits: en.wikipedia.org