Thursday, May 24, 2007

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is easily noticeable because of its physical manifestations. A problem that develops mostly in elderly people, Parkinson’s is very important to acknowledge so that it can be taken care of at its early stages. Knowing what it is and what the symptoms are will help you to catch it in the beginning and start treatment immediately. Parkinson's disease results when brain cells deteriorate. It is a chronic condition because it has no cure and does not go away by itself. It is also a degenerative disease, which means that it breaks down the body of the person it attacks. Muscle control is lost due to a lack of dopamine in the brain and, therefore, a difficulty in walking, coordination, and severe shaking develop.

A person with Parkinson’s disease may also notice a change in his or her voice. A person’s voice may become low and monotone, with little or no inflection. Akinesia and bradykinesia may also manifest as trouble executing certain movements, and increased slowness when movements are attempted.

Talking more quietly is another affect of the disease, as is difficulty with motor skills. The result is lessened in fine motor skills dexterity and may mean the person with Parkinson’s may require help with everyday tasks such as shaving, tying laces, fastening buttons, and handwriting. Oily skin and dandruff is an affect of seborrheic dermatitis.

Therefore, Parkinson’s patients may notice that they have developed greasier skin, especially around the nose and eyebrows, and a greasier scalp. This symptom is often accompanied by increased sweating. Non-specific sensory symptoms include unusual sensory feelings such as numbness, pain, burning sensation, restlessness and fatigue. Lastly, depression and senility, as well as dementia, are also symptoms of Parkinson's.

Some of the signs of Parkinson's to look out for include tremors and trembling. For nearly three quarters of patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, the appearance of tremors or trembling is the first noticeable symptom. Muscle stiffness is another symptom of the disease. Patients experiencing stiffness or rigidity may not notice any other symptoms of this characteristic.

In fact, the person may not even notice the signs of rigidity unless a physician notes it during a physical examination. The presence of physical rigidity, such as decreased arm swing, is especially useful in helping medical personnel establish a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. This may also include 'Freezing' which is the sudden inability to move when you want to. If a foot on one side starts to drag, and you have difficulty walking through doorways and hallways, you should go to a doctor. Lacking coordination and having difficulty maintaining balance, controlling facial muscles, are causes of akinesia and bradykinesia. These characteristics may manifest themselves in the face, for example, as reduced facial expression, infrequent blinking, and slow swallowing resulting in increased saliva secretion, and occasionally, drooling.

Feeling anxious, angry, discouraged or depressed is common as the brain is undergoing a number of chemical changes. Approximately forty to seventy percent of Parkinson’s sufferers experiences depression at times, while twenty percent of these are a major depressive disorder. Parkinson’s disease is not something to be taken lightly, as it is very serious and can cause permanent problems.

By Groshan Fabiola
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