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Parkinson’s disease a disorder that negatively affects the nervous system. With the disease, the spinal cord and the brain have trouble communicating with the rest of the body — resulting in slow movements and small tremors. This condition does not have a cure but can be treated.
Causes of Parkinson’s Disease
The causes are hard to find. Some experts believe that Parkinson’s disease is simply genetic. While this is the case, there has been no gene linked to Parkinson’s. If you have a family member with Parkinson’s disease, you are at risk of developing the nervous system disorder as you age.
Another possible cause is trauma. If you received trauma to your spinal cord, it would likely develop into Parkinson’s disease. This trauma can be from a fall or an accidental bump. Men are more at risk for developing it as they age. Some reports mention that pesticides found in fertilizer for lawns can increase the chances of developing it.
Another cause is the brain or spinal cancer. If you develop a tumor, whether it is benign or cancerous, it can deter your nervous system from sending messages to the brain and the rest of your body. The treatment and life expectancy for this cause depends entirely on if the tumor is benign or cancerous and where it is located.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
The symptoms reported are:
- Changes in handwriting
- Changes in speech pattern
- Joint pain
- Slowed movement
While these are the most common symptoms of having Parkinson’s, every individual with the disease has unique signs. The more uncommon ones are:
- Shortness of breath
- Pain when walking
- Digestive health problems
Diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease
Nervous system disorders are very difficult to diagnose. No one test can prove you have Parkinson’s disease. Instead, you should immediately go to the doctor if you think that you have this condition. A physical checkup will be conducted to ensure that there aren’t any other underlying conditions that could contribute to your symptoms. Since some people develop Parkinson’s disease as a result of a tumor, it is important for doctors to also use X-rays and CT scans on the brain and spinal cord.
If they don’t find any underlying conditions, they can refer you to a neurologist. The neurologist will look at your medical and genetic history and compare them with the symptoms and risk factors associated with the disease. Once you have a proper diagnosis, treatment and management become easier.
Treatment/Management for Parkinson’s Disease
To treat Parkinson’s disease is just to manage the symptoms. As of now, there is no treatment option for Parkinson’s!
While this is the case, you can manage the symptoms to feel relief and decrease degeneration. One of the more common treatments is medication. Medications that your doctor may prescribe increase dopamine levels without actually having to inject them. Instead, a synthetic hormone alters and increases the dopamine amount.
One of the rarer treatments is deep brain stimulation. This is a surgery that has a lot more risks than potential good. If you undergo deep brain stimulation, you must also go through brain surgery to add electrodes to your brain. These are powered by a generator attached to your chest. The generator then shocks and stimulates your brain. This only reduces the symptoms, however, and the condition still progresses. Deep brain stimulation is only recommended by some doctors when medications don’t work since the risk factors are extensive.
- Is this disease fatal? Sadly, this disease can become fatal if it is not treated. This is especially true if the cause is a tumor.
- Are there any at-home management techniques? Yes, you can easily manage your pain levels and mobility at home. You can use various tools as the condition progresses, including walkers, wheelchairs, and orthopedic mattresses for relief.
- Can I prevent Parkinson’s disease? There is still little known about this condition, so it is hard to prevent.
Healthier Me Today is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment, always consult with your healthcare professional. Stay healthy!