Parkinson’s disease is a common neurodegenerative illness that presents with impaired motor functions and speech skills.
By far, older adults are more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease, which negatively impacts their ability to take care of themselves.
In this article, we will cover the causes, risk factors, symptoms, as well as treatment options for Parkinson’s disease.
The causes and risk factors of Parkinson’s disease
Similar to other neurological conditions, the exact causes of Parkinson’s disease are still unclear. However, most scientists agree that it is the result of genetic and environmental factors.
On the chemical levels, neuroscientists found that patients with Parkinson’s disease tend to have low levels of dopamine and norepinephrine (i.e., noradrenaline). Moreover, abnormal proteins known as Lewy bodies were also found in the brains of Parkinson’s disease patients.
Despite the lack of consensus on the causes of Parkinson’s disease, scientists managed to list a few risk factors, including:
Gender – men are 1.5X more likely to develop this condition compared to women.
Race – researchers found that Parkinson’s disease is more prevalent in Caucasians.
Age – most cases of Parkinson’s disease occur between the ages of 50 and 60 years.
Family history – having a relative with neurodegenerative illness augments your risk of developing this disorder.
Head trauma – while it is still unclear, scientists found a connection between undergoing head injuries and the risk of neurodegenerative illnesses.
Exposure to toxins – getting in contact with certain toxins may increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
Most cases of Parkinson’s disease start with a subtle clinical presentation, which is why the diagnosis of this condition is often delayed.
Patients may experience slight tremors of their hands, stiffness of the lower limbs, and a characteristic gait. Moreover, facial expressions, speech, and tone of voice may get compromised.
As time progresses, symptoms become more pronounced, manifesting as:
- Generalized lethargy (i.e., weakness)
- A diminished sense of smell
We should note that the signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease vary between patients. Factors that influence this process are age, rate of degeneration, and treatments.
The treatments of Parkinson’s disease
As a general rule of thumb, the treatment of Parkinson’s disease focuses on three major aspects:
- Lifestyle changes
- Occupational therapy
- Pharmacological drugs
For instance, getting adequate rest, exercising regularly, and eating a balanced diet will be integral to slow down the degeneration process.
Occupational therapy will focus on restoring the patient’s speech skills and improving his/her communication, as well as self-care.
The medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease increase the concentration of dopamine in the brain to improve symptoms.
Parkinson’s disease is a debilitating condition that negatively impacts the patient’s and his/her family’s quality of life. Addressing this condition with appropriate therapy is indispensable to slow down its progression.
We hope that this article managed to highlight the main aspects of Parkinson’s disease.
If you or a loved one is suffering from Parkinson’s disease and need further treatment, please give our neurology clinic a call today (https://provider.kareo.com/dr-bashar-alshareef).