What You Need to Know About Parkinson’s Disease

Old man suffering from Parkinson's disease

There are many causes which influence the development of Parkinson’s disease.

Specialists explain that Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder which attacks the nervous system. This progressive condition affects the patients’ movement and usually begins with small tremors in the hands as well as muscle stiffness.

These symptoms become worse in time. Doctors are not able to detect Parkinson’s in its early stages, and that is why most specialists usually misdiagnose it with other conditions.

The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

Patients living with this brain disorder have problems talking and walking. The most common symptoms include slurred speech, loss of balance, and slow movement.

According to the experts, the symptoms get worse when patients become unable to perform basic movements such as smiling and blinking.

Roughly one million people are living with this disorder across the country. Parkinson’s disease usually occurs in men, while it affects senior patients over fifty most of the time.

The primary factors influencing the development of Parkinson’s disease

Dopamine is the chemical compound used by the human body to control movement. The brain’s neurons produce dopamine. However, when many of them die, people have a higher risk of developing this disorder.

Fewer neurons mean less dopamine produced, which leads to movement problems. Specialists haven’t figured out yet why neurons just die, but they speculate that this incident occurs due to a combination of environmental causes and genes.

Between 15 percent and 25 percent of patients have at least one family member suffering from this condition, according to scientists. They managed to identify a gene mutation which is passed from generation to generation.

Other studies pointed towards the fact that chemicals such as PERC and TCE can influence the development of this condition. However, researchers weren’t able to prove a direct connection because Parkinson’s disease is most likely caused by a broad array of factors.

According to the public health specialists, this disease is incurable, so the only thing doctors can do is to help patients deal with the symptoms up to a certain extent. For instance, a commonly prescribed medication is levodopa, a treatment which helps the brain produce a higher level of dopamine.

The FDA has just approved a type of therapy against Parkinson’s disease, called deep brain stimulation, which is an invasive treatment that consists of brain-implanted electrodes to control a patient’s movement.

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About Carol Harper

Carol Harper began her career as a screenwriter before turning to journalism. Before earning her Bachelor of Arts with a major in Creative Writing, Carol travelled across Europe and Asia to find both herself and inspiration. She enjoys covering health & science topics.