Parkinson

Parkinsons disease is a degenerative disease originating in the loss of dopamine-producing brain nerve cells and manifested by clinical symptoms such as tremor, slowness of movements and rigidity in muscles.

Parkinson’s disease is named after the British doctor James Parkinson who first identified the disease in detail in 1817. Although mostly seen in elderly, it may be seen in young people, even if rarely. It is not a contagious disease, genetic and environmental factors are instead considered to be important in the development of the disease.

Estimated number of Parkinson’s patients in Turkey is 100,000.

Dopamine (also known as dopaminergic neurons) is an organic chemical released by brain nerve cells that control body movements. Due to loss of dopaminergic neurons, these cells can no longer produce dopamine, manifesting itself with various clinical symptoms, especially in patients’ movements. The early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease might also include non-characteristic ones such as sleep disorders, anosmia, and constipation.1

How to diagnose the Parkinsons disease?

Parkinson’s disease has clinical symptoms. Four major clinical symptoms are:

  1. Tremor,
  2. Slowness of movement,
  3. Rigidity on arms, legs, and the body,
  4. Impaired balance and fall.3

The occurrence of the two of these symptoms is sufficient for an specialist’s diagnosis. The most important feature of the disease is that these symptoms appear only on one side of the body. For example, one arm might swing less than usual when a person moves. Tremor usually appears when the body is at rest. As Parkinson’s disease progresses, patients may begin speaking slowly and making fewer face expressions.

Yet, not every tremor means Parkinson’s disease. When such clinical symptoms appear, it is necessary to have a differential diagnosis by a specialist physician for an early treatment of the disease.

How to treat?

Parkinson’s disease is an insidious disease that progresses over years. Therefore, the early treatment is vital in this disease as it is in many other diseases. The treatment methods might vary per patient’s age and clinical condition. Neither the progress nor the treatment of the disease is the same in patients.

In fact, proper implementation of existing treatment methods under a physician’s supervision enables patients to have a full life. As in many diseases, patients should never cease the treatment without consulting their physician, assuming that they are healed. In addition, there are studies indicating that the regular exercising, accompanied with the treatment, delivers positive impacts on the mood, sleep quality, and cognitive functions of the patients. As in other diseases, it is very important to support patients with the collaboration of their physician and their family members, particularly in this stage of treatment.
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