What is the cause of Parkinson’s disease?
The presence of some recognized symptoms characterizes Parkinson’s disease (Parkinsonism). Uncontrollable tremors, a loss of coordination, and difficulty speaking are some of the symptoms. Symptoms, on the other hand, vary and may increase as the condition advances.
Parkinson’s Disease is characterized by uncontrollable shaking and tremors, delayed movement (bradykinesia), balance problems, and eventually problems standing up.
The Hoehn and Yahr rating scale is used by many doctors who diagnose this brain condition to classify the severity of symptoms. The scale is divided into five stages based on the course of the condition. The five stages aid doctors in determining how far the sickness has progressed.
Stages of Parkinson’s disease
The mildest form of Parkinson’s disease is Stage 1. There may be symptoms at this point, but they aren’t severe enough to interfere with everyday duties or your overall lifestyle. In fact, the symptoms are so minor at this point that they are frequently overlooked. However, changes in your posture, stride, or facial expressions may be noticed by family and friends.
Tremors and other movement impairments are almost often restricted to one side of the body in stage 1 Parkinson’s disease. At this stage, prescribed drugs can help to lessen and reduce symptoms.
Stage 2 is a moderate form of Parkinson’s disease, with symptoms that are significantly more evident than those of stage 1. Stiffness, tremors, and trembling may become more apparent, and facial expressions may shift.
Stage 2 does not impair balance however muscle tightness delays task completion. Walking difficulties may emerge or worsen, and the person’s posture may begin to shift.
At this stage, people have symptoms on both sides of their bodies (albeit one side may be affected only slightly) and may have trouble speaking.
The majority of persons with stage 2 Parkinson’s disease can still live independently, however, some tasks may take longer. It might take months or even years to advance from stage 1 to stage 2. Individual growth is impossible to anticipate.
Stage 3 is the middle stage of Parkinson’s disease, and it marks a significant turning point in the disease’s progression. Many of the symptoms are similar to those found in stage 2. However, you’re more likely to lose your balance and have slower reflexes now. Overall, your movements slow down. This is why at stage 3, falls become more common.
At this stage, Parkinson’s disease has a substantial impact on daily chores, but people can still do them. Combining medication with occupational therapy may assist to alleviate symptoms.
People with Parkinson’s disease in stages 3 and 4 are distinguished by their independence. It is possible to stand without help during stage 4. However, movement may necessitate the use of a walker or other assistance device.
Because of considerable declines in movement and reaction times, many persons with Parkinson’s are unable to live alone at this stage. Many daily duties may become impossible or unsafe if you live alone at stage 4 or later.
The fifth stage of Parkinson’s disease is the most advanced. Advanced leg stiffness can sometimes cause freezing when standing, making standing or walking impossible. People in this stage typically require wheelchairs and are unable to stand without falling. Around-the-clock help is essential to prevent falls.
Confusion, hallucinations, and delusions are experienced by up to 50% of patients in stages 4 and 5. When you have hallucinations, you see things that aren’t there. Delusions occur when you believe things that aren’t true, even though evidence suggests that your view is incorrect.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Dementia affects 50 to 80 percent of patients with Parkinson’s disease. Medication side effects might sometimes outweigh the advantages at this stage.
System of alternative evaluation
One criticism of the Hoehn and Yahr grading system is that it only considers movement symptoms. Other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as intellectual impairment, are also present.
As a result, the MDS-Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale may be used by many doctors. This grading system includes 50 questions that cover both motor and non-motor symptoms. It helps them to assess cognitive impairments that may hinder daily tasks as well as therapy success.
This scale is far more complex, but it is also far more comprehensive. It enables clinicians to consider a more comprehensive picture of the patient’s overall health rather than just motor symptoms.
The most common way to assess Parkinson’s disease progression is to look for motor symptoms like muscle rigidity and tremors. Non-motor symptoms, on the other hand, are quite common.
These symptoms may appear years before or after the onset of Parkinson’s disease in some persons. Non-motor symptoms are common in patients who have Parkinson’s disease.
Non-motor symptoms include:
- Cognitive abnormalities such as memory or planning difficulties, as well as mental slowness and mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.
- Insomnia, exhaustion, constipation, and visual issues are examples of sleep disorders.
- Issues with speech and swallowing
- Problems with the sense of smell
Many people may require further treatment for non-motor symptoms. As the condition advances, these symptoms may worsen.
What is the treatment for Parkinson’s disease?
While there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, medication can help manage symptoms, especially in the early stages. The mainstays of treatment are:
- Pharmaceuticals (such as carbidopa, levodopa, dopamine agonists, COMT inhibitors, MAO B inhibitors, amantadine, and anticholinergics)
- Exercises and physical treatment
- Therapy for speech
- Occupational therapy is a type of treatment that is used to help people
- For advanced Parkinson’s disease, doctors may recommend deep brain stimulation surgery. Electrodes are surgically implanted into a specific area of the brain during the process. The electrodes provide electrical pulses to the brain via a generator inserted near the collarbone.
- Another surgery involves putting a tube into the small intestine to distribute a carbidopa/levodopa gel formulation (DuopaTM).