Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects a person’s motor controls and movements. The first symptoms usually start with tremors and shakes.
Essentially, Parkinson’s affects the dopamine receptors in your brain. Your smooth movements and gait is regulated by dopamine – which is produced in the “substantia nigra.” In Parkinson’s, the cells of the nigra start to disintegrate which affects dopamine production. When the levels of dopamine drop, the symptoms of Parkinson’s appear.
These symptoms usually progress slowly and develop over years. Early signs may be mild and go unnoticed. People with Parkinson’s disease may experience:
- Tremor, mainly at rest and described as a pill-rolling tremor in hands. Other forms of tremor are possible
- Limb rigidity
- Gait and balance problems
- Changes in speech and handwriting
The causes largely remain unknown. Parkinson’s disease is chronic and there’s no cure. However, there are several treatment options that can help manage the condition.
There are several organizations that work to raise awareness about Parkinson’s disease. Most of the information regarding symptoms and diagnosis is available; however, there are still a few facts that can be surprising to know.
Today’s blog takes a look at a few facts that you may not know about Parkinson’s Disease.
The cause is unknown and there is no cure
The cause behind Parkinson is largely unknown. Many scientists and doctors believe that genetics accounts for 15% of all cases. The rest all are sporadic or occasional.
Parkinson’s can begin in early adulthood
While Parkinson’s disease is largely considered as an old person condition, there have been cases of early onset Parkinson’s. The risk of developing early-onset Parkinson’s may be higher in people with family members who had Parkinson’s disease.
Change in handwriting can be a sign of Parkinson’s
Many people associate Parkinson’s disease with its characteristic hand tremor, but there are many other signs. If your handwriting has changed, or if you have trouble holding a pen due to a tremor, discuss the same with your doctor.
People often experience varying symptoms
The progression of symptoms is often a bit different from one person to another due to the diversity of the disease.
Non-movement symptoms are also very common
Generally, Parkinson’s disease presents with loss of motor functions and control. In addition to movement symptoms, most people also develop non-movement issues that can seem more troubling. This includes:
- Problems with attention, planning, language or memory
- Mood disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and irritability
- Hallucinations and delusions
Research into designer DNA shows promising results
As mentioned above, genetics accounts for a percentage of Parkinson’s disease cases. Due to a better understanding of genetics, researchers have discovered alternative ways to halt the development of Parkinson’s. This is through using “designer DNA”. The method employs a non-infectious virus to deliver a man-made segment of DNA directly to cells in the midbrain. This can help stimulate neuron growth.
The Bottom Line About Parkinson’s Disease
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment approach when it comes to Parkinson’s disease. Currently, all therapies used for PD improve symptoms without slowing or halting the disease progression. There’s a lot of research that’s being put into finding alternative treatments and therapies for Parkinson’s. Working with a team of healthcare providers and professionals is the best way to understand if you may be at risk of developing this. You can always book a consultation online, for an initial screening test.