Parkinson’s Disease is a condition where the brain becomes progressively more damaged over time, which can cause involuntary shaking, muscle stiffness, and slow movements. The cause of Parkinson’s is the loss of nerve cells in the substantia niagra (motor centre in the midbrain), which reduces the amount of dopamine in the brain. Parkinson’s may cause problems with the autonomic (involuntary) nervous system, for example urination, swallowing, and excessive production of saliva. Parkinson’s can also cause constipation, erectile dysfunction and excessive sweating.
- Slow movements
- Stiffness of muscles
- Dystonia (involuntary muscle cramps, spasms, and contractions)
- Postural instability
- Neuropsychiatric Symptoms
- Mild cognitive impairment (disorder associated with risks of Alzheimer’s)
- Dementia (see Dementia and Alzheimer’s)
- Sleep disturbances
A medication called levodopa has been said to be effective. The body turns levodopa into dopamine, which means that there are no longer low amounts of dopamine. Ropinole, pamipexole, rotigotine have also been effective.
Speech and language therapy and physiotherapy can help with tremors, dystonia and stiffness as well as speaking more naturally. Treatment usually consists of treating the symptoms instead of treating the disease.
Living with Parkinson’s
Parkinson’s disease can cause limited mobility, which can cause people to have trouble living independently with Parkinson’s.
There are many Parkinson’s mobility aids that can help with mobility and disability.
There are also Parkinson’s devices that can help with everyday activities such as eating and drinking.
People with Parkinson’s also need safety, here are some tips about living independently with Parkinson’s.
- Emergency numbers readily available
- One phone easily accessible.
- Working smoke detectors
- Do not use space heaters or electric blankets.
Did you know?
- It is estimated that around 1 in 500 people are affected by Parkinson’s disease and there are currently 127,000 people in the UK with the condition.
- “One step closer” to a Parkinson’s disease cure, scientists believe they have found what elements of a cell are causing Parkinson’s.
- Parkinson’s is not a sole cause of dementia, but a mixture of Parkinson’s and other age-related factors can lead to a greater risk of dementia.
- Johnny Cash, Billy Graham and Muhammad Ali all have it.
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