James Parkinson was the doctor who first observed, in 1817, the symptoms of the disease that is now named after him. Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive disease of the central nervous system. It affects about 10 million people worldwide. Men are 50% more likely to get PD than women are and the incidence of PD increases with age.
Early signs of PD may easily be overlooked. It may start with slight tremors on any one side of the body. It is caused due to a defect or death of certain nerve cells in the brains that produce dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that sends messages to other nerve cells and it controls our movements. As PD progresses, these crucial nerve cells produce lesser and lesser amounts of dopamine, thus making it almost impossible for the person to perform simple tasks.
These are some of the ways PD affects people:
- Tremors and ShakesThe most common symptom of the disease is mild shaking of any limbs, mostly the hands or fingers when they are relaxed. This may get worse with progression of the disease
- Rigidity: Stiffness in any part of the body may be an indication of PD. This rigidity may restrict your movements and make simple movements painful. Not swinging your arms while walking is commonly observed in people with PD
- Posture: People with PD may have a stooped posture and may have trouble balancing
- Speech: The way you speak may be affected as a result of PD. Your speech may become monotonous, slurred or may slow down. You may speak softer than usual.
- Face: As with speech, a person with PD may have a blank face, devoid of expression. He may even blink fewer times. There is a loss of automatic movements
- Bradykinesia (Slowness of movements): The long-term effects of PD is bradykinesia. It may reduce your ability to move and slow down your movements. This makes regular, day-to-day tasks difficult to accomplish
- Writing: The handwriting of a person with PD changes, it becomes smaller and they find it difficult to write.
- Light-headedness or fainting on standing
Unfortunately, PD is not curable. However, medicines can help slow down the progress of this disease.
However all hope is not lost for patients suffering from Parkinson’s as dedicated nursing care by trained professionals can help with the slowing down the onset of disease and symptoms and also with ensuring that the lifestyle patterns change to work around the symptoms and disabilities and be as independent as possible
Contact our medical and Home health care nursing team at One Life that is dedicated to chronic diseases such as these to educate, help and support you through your battle against this disease.