Named after renowned medical researcher James Parkinson, the Parkinson’s Disease better known as PD in medical circles is a rare degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that affects motors skills, speech and similar bodily functions. To some extent, Parkinson’s disease can also cause some behavioral and physiological problems like cognitive and neurobehavioral conditions, sensory and sleep difficulties as well as similar autonomic dysfunctions.
Death rate extrapolations in the United States for such degenerative central nervous system disorder is pegged at around 14,593 deaths annually in the United States alone. Further estimates reveal however, that the prevalence of Parkinson’s disease is at 1 million for diagnosed cases while 3-4 million for undiagnosed cases.
Nevertheless, even up to this day and age of technological advancement in medicine, medical experts are still unable to determine the real cause of Parkinson’s disease although it roots from an imbalance in two brain chemicals which are both vital and important in movement and similar bodily functions.
Most Parkinson’s disease cases are categorized as idiopathic, meaning it has no known cause and is acquired spontaneously, making treatment much more difficult. Naturally, Parkinson’s disease are classified as a non-genetic disorder but statistics particularly the Lancet Journal of Medicine, show that 15% of current patients have a first-degree relative who also has the disease.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease vary heavily but medical experts have laid out four main symptoms of the idiopathic movement disorder such as tremor or the extreme shaking and trembling in hands, feet and legs; rigidity or the occasional stiffness of muscles; bradykinesia and akinesia or the slow movement or even absence of movement and postural inability or the imbalance when walking, running or moving.
These four major symptoms affect bodily functions and are directly associated with Parkinson’s disease but it should be noted that there are some motor and non-motor symptoms that are often unappreciated such as gait, festination , drooling, soft speech and scoliosis all of which are also associated to Parkinson’s disease.
Diagnosis for Parkinson’s disease rely heavily on the medical history and family background of the patient but their are some neurological examinations that traces the occurrence of Parkinson’s disease.
In treating motor symptoms and other complications brought about by Parkinson’s disease some drugs are used mostly to alleviate the symptoms but not to stop it permanently. Drugs used in that manner includes amantadine and anticholinergics which is useful in the earlier stages of Parkinson’s disease.