April 24, 2024

Summary

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative neurological condition affecting the nervous system and the body’s nerve-controlled regions. The onset of symptoms is gradual. A tremor in one hand that is hardly perceptible may be the initial sign. Although tremors are prevalent, the disease can also make you stiff or move more slowly.

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You may have little to no expression on your face in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease. As you walk, your arms might not swing freely. You can start to speak more slowly or slurred. As your Parkinson’s disease worsens over time, so do its symptoms.

While there is no known cure for Parkinson’s disease, taking medication may greatly lessen your symptoms. Your doctor may occasionally recommend surgery to treat your symptoms by regulating certain brain areas.

Significance

Each person may experience Parkinson’s disease symptoms differently. Early symptoms could not be seen or be moderate. Even if symptoms start to affect the limbs on both sides, they often start on one side of the body and tend to stay worse there.

Among the signs of Parkinson’s are:

Shiver. Tremors, or rhythmic shaking, typically start in a limb, most frequently the hand or fingers. You might give your thumb and fingers a quick massage. We call this tremor a pill-rolling tremor. When your hand is at rest, it could shake. While working on chores, you could experience less shaking.

Slow motion, sometimes referred to as bradykinesia. Parkinson’s disease may cause movement impairments over time, making even routine tasks more challenging and time-consuming. When you walk, your steps can get shorter. It might be challenging to get out of a chair… When you attempt to walk, your feet could drag or shuffle.

stiff muscles. You might have muscle stiffness anywhere in your body. Your range of motion may be restricted and unpleasant due to the tight muscles.

faulty balance and posture. You could start to slouch. Or Parkinson’s disease may cause you to stumble or lose your equilibrium.

loss of mobility that comes naturally. Your capacity to make involuntary gestures, such as smiling, blinking, or waving your arms while walking, may have diminished.

Speech changes. You can slur your words, speak slowly or rapidly, or hesitate to say anything. Your speech might not contain the typical speech patterns; instead, it can be more monotonous.

Composing modifications. It may become hard to write, and your writing may appear small.

When to visit a physician

See a health care professional if you have any of the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease — not only to diagnose your condition but also to rule out other causes for your symptoms.

Reasons

In Parkinson’s disease, certain nerve cells called neurons in the brain gradually break down or die. The loss of neurons in the brain that generate the chemical messenger dopamine is the cause of many Parkinson’s symptoms. When dopamine levels decrease, it causes irregular brain activity, leading to problems with movement and other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

The cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown, but several factors appear to play a role, including:

DNA. Researchers have identified specific genetic changes that can cause Parkinson’s disease. But these are uncommon except in rare cases with many family members affected by Parkinson’s disease.

However, certain gene variations appear to increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease but with a relatively small risk of Parkinson’s disease for each of these genetic markers.

environmental catalysts. Exposure to certain toxins or environmental factors may increase the risk of later Parkinson’s disease, but the risk is small.

Researchers also have noted that many changes occur in the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease, although it’s not clear why these changes occur. These changes include:

The presence of Lewy bodies. Clumps of specific substances within brain cells are microscopic markers of Parkinson’s disease. These are called Lewy bodies, and researchers believe these Lewy bodies hold an important clue to the cause of Parkinson’s disease.

Alpha-synuclein found within Lewy bodies. Although many substances are found within Lewy bodies, scientists believe that an important one is the natural and widespread protein called alpha-synuclein, also called a-synuclein. It’s found in all Lewy bodies in a clumped form that cells can’t break down. This is currently an important focus among Parkinson’s disease researchers. Researchers have found the clumped alpha-synuclein protein in the spinal fluid of people who later develop Parkinson’s disease.

Risk elements

Risk factors for Parkinson’s disease include:

Age. Young adults rarely experience Parkinson’s disease. It ordinarily begins in middle or late life, and the risk increases with age. People usually develop the disease around age 60 or older. If a young person does have Parkinson’s disease, genetic counseling might be helpful in making family planning decisions. Work, social situations and medicine side effects are also different from those of an older person with Parkinson’s disease and require special considerations.

Heredity. Having a close relative with Parkinson’s disease increases the chances that you’ll develop the disease. However, your risks are still small unless you have many relatives in your family with Parkinson’s disease.

Sex. Men are more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than are women.

Exposure to toxins. Ongoing exposure to herbicides and pesticides may slightly increase your risk of Parkinson’s disease.