Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. It develops gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. But while tremor may be the most well known sign of Parkinson's disease, the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement.
In early stages of Parkinson's disease, face may show little or no expression, or arms may not swing while walking. Speech may become soft or slurred. Parkinson's disease symptoms worsen as the condition progresses over time. Although Parkinson's disease can't be cured, medications may markedly improve your symptoms.
The cause of Parkinson's disease is unknown, but several factors appear to play a role, including:
- Genes. Researchers have identified specific genetic mutations that can cause Parkinson's disease, but these are extremely uncommon, except in rare cases with many family members affected by Parkinson's disease. However, certain gene variations (polymorphisms) appear to increase the risk of Parkinson's disease, but with a relatively small risk of for each of these genetic markers.
- Environmental triggers. Exposure to certain toxins or environmental factors increase the risk of later Parkinson's disease, but the risk is relatively small.
Many changes occur in the brains of people with Parkinson's disease, including:
- The presence of Lewy bodies. Clumps of specific substances within brain cells are microscopic markers of Parkinson's disease. These are called Lewy bodies, and researchers believe these Lewy bodies hold an important clue to the cause of Parkinson's disease.
- A-synuclein is found within Lewy bodies. Although many substances are found within Lewy bodies, scientists believe the most important of these is the natural and widespread protein called a-synuclein. It's found in all Lewy bodies in a clumped form that cells can't break down. This is currently an important focus among Parkinson's disease researchers.
Parkinson's disease symptoms and signs may vary from person to person. Early signs may be mild and may go unnoticed. Symptoms often begin on one side of your body and usually remain worse on that side, even after symptoms begin to affect both sides. Parkinson's signs and symptoms may include:
- Tremor: Tremor, or shaking, usually begins in limb, often hand or fingers. One may notice a back-and-forth rubbing of your thumb and forefinger, known as a pill-rolling tremor. One characteristic of Parkinson's disease is tremor of your hand when it is relaxed (at rest).
- Slowed movement (bradykinesia). Over time, Parkinson's disease may reduce your ability to move and slow your movement. This may make simple tasks difficult and time-consuming. Steps may become shorter while walking, or one may find it difficult to get out of a chair.
- Rigid muscles. Muscle stiffness may occur in any parts of your body. The stiff muscles can limit range of motion and cause pain.
- Impaired posture and balance.Posture may have become stooped, or there may be balance problems as a result of Parkinson's disease.
- Loss of automatic movements. In Parkinson's disease, there may be decreased ability to perform unconscious movements, including blinking, smiling or swinging arms when walking. There may no longer be gestures when talking.
- Speech changes.One may speak softly, quickly, slur or hesitate before talking. Speech may be more of a monotone, rather than with the usual inflections.
- Writing changes. Writing may appear small and become difficult.
Risk factors for Parkinson's disease include:
- Age. Young adults rarely experience Parkinson's disease. It ordinarily begins in middle or late life, and the risk continues to increase with age.
- Heredity. Having a close relative with Parkinson's disease increases the chances that you'll also develop the disease. However, your risks are still small unless you have many relatives in your family with Parkinson's disease.
- Sex. Men are more likely to develop Parkinson's disease than are women.
- Exposure to toxins. Ongoing exposure to herbicides and pesticides may put you at a slightly increased risk of Parkinson's disease. Our experience at bodhin is suggestive of encouraging results with homoeopathy. At this point, we recommend homeopathy in the early cases and also those cases where the conventional treatment has either not helped at all or has helped partially.
Our experience at bodhin is suggestive of encouraging results with homoeopathy. At this point, we recommend homeopathy in the early cases and also those cases where the conventional treatment has either not helped at all or has helped partially.
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