Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disorder which affects the ability to perform motor functions in a person. It hits every person differently which makes determining the cause, symptoms and treatment standards difficult. Each patient shows different symptoms and goes through a treatment plan unique to them. But there are some questions regarding Parkinson’s Disease that can be addressed which are usually in every patient’s mind. So, here are some of the most frequently asked question with their answers.
Ques1. What is it like to have Parkinson’s Disease?
Ans1. Having Parkinson’s is like a battle which challenges you every now and then with obstacles in the way. Parkinson’s Disease (PD) causes progressive changes to motor function as well as many other non-motor symptoms including depression, sleep problems and pain. The disease greatly impacts the quality of the life of the person.
Parkinson’s Disease develops gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. You may notice this when you are lifting a cup or holding a glass of water. This is the most visible sign of someone having an onset of Parkinson’s Disease. However, other signs may include stiffness of the limbs or slowing down of your movement especially your gait.
Living with Parkinson’s is definitely an adjustment with life but it’s not like it the end of the world; you can still live a full, happy and healthy life. Like they say, pain is inevitable, but suffering is a choice. Although there is much about PD that is uncontrollable, taking an active role in treatment, including adhering to a medication schedule and making healthy lifestyle choices, can provide a sense of control and help people with PD live their lives to the fullest.
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Ques2. What is the best treatment for Parkinson’s in India? How successful is it and where can we find the treatment?
Ans2. Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects voluntary movement. In early stages, there are options of taking oral medications to control the symptoms of PD. Your neurologist or a Parkinson’s specialist can help you chose the right combination of treatment. As the disease progresses, medications might not be able to control the symptoms adequately or might cause side effects that interfere with activities of daily living. At this stage, there is an option of a surgical procedure known as Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS).
DBS uses a small, pacemaker-like device, placed under the skin of the chest, to send electronic signals to an area in the brain that controls movement. To give you relief, these signals block some of the brain messages that cause the movement symptoms of Parkinson’s. DBS helps control your movement symptoms when your medications aren’t working as well as they should do. For many people with Parkinson’s, DBS makes a difference when even small tasks have become challenging.
DBS has helped some people to stay as independent as they can and keep doing activities they love to the fullest. Your neurologist/hospital/DBS centre can help evaluate if DBS can help you. In India, a few hospitals are doing DBS on a regular basis. You can reach out to Parkinsons.co.in for more information.
Ques3. What is pathophysiology of Parkinson’s Disease?
Ans3. The pathophysiology of Parkinson’s Disease is still considered to be unknown. It is said to be the death of dopaminergic neurons as a result of changes in biological activity in the brain with respect to Parkinson’s Disease. What exactly causes these cells to die is something that scientists are still not sure of, although the suspicion is that environmental factors and genes could be playing a part in it.
Symptoms worsen over time as more and more of the cells affected by the disease are lost. The course of the disease is highly variable, with some patients exhibiting very few symptoms as they age and others whose symptoms progress rapidly. Damage to these various neuronal systems accounts for the multi-faceted pathophysiologic changes that causes impairments not just to the motor system but also to the cognitive and neuropsychological systems.
Ques4. What does Parkinson’s Disease do to the nervous system?
Ans4. Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a progressive disorder that affects nerve cells in the brain responsible for body movement. When dopamine-producing neurons die, symptoms such as tremor, slowness, stiffness, and balance problems occur. Treatments focus on reducing symptoms to enable a more active lifestyle and include medication, diet, exercise, and deep brain stimulation surgery.
Ques5. What should people with Parkinson’s eat?
Ans5. While there is no prescription for a PD-specific diet, to maintain overall good health. Most people living with Parkinson’s Disease should eat a variety of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, milk & dairy products and protein-rich foods such as meat & beans.
A patient with Parkinson’s should choose a diet with plenty of grain products, vegetables and fruits which provide vitamins, minerals, fiber and complex carbohydrates that can help you lower your intake of fat, limit sugar intake, reduce salt and sodium intake to help decrease your risk of high blood pressure. Incorporate foods high in antioxidants, a diet low in fat, maintain a healthy weight to reduce chances of high blood pressure, and drink alcoholic beverages in moderation. Also consider including nuts, olive oil, fish and eggs to your diet, for their beneficial fats.
Learn more about Parkinson’s Patients Dietary Habits
Ques6 What is latest on the cure for Parkinson’s Disease?
Ans6.The latest surgery for Parkinson’s Disease is DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation). DBS uses a small, pacemaker-like device, placed under the skin of the chest, to send electronic signals to an area in the brain that controls movement. To give you relief, these signals block some of the brain messages that cause the movement symptoms of Parkinson’s.
DBS helps control your movement symptoms when your medications aren’t working as well as they should do. For many people with Parkinson’s, DBS makes a difference when even small tasks have become challenging. DBS has helped some people to stay as independent as they can and keep doing activities they love to the fullest.
Ques7. What are the ways to prevent early onset Parkinson’s Disease?
Ans7. Although nothing has been proven to be true yet but there are various theories that support several ways to prevent early onset of Parkinson’s Disease. These are as follows:
- Go organic and local
- Eat fresh, raw materials
- Incorporate Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet
- Increase your Vitamin D intake
- Shift to green tea
- Start doing regular aerobic exercises
Know more about the causes of Parkinson’s and prevention.
Ques8. What are the proven facts of Parkinson’s Disease?
Ans8. There are a lot of myths towards Parkinson’s Disease but here are some clearly stated facts:
- Parkinson’s Disease is not just an ”old person’s disease”.
- Parkinson’s Disease isn’t just marked by tremors and other outward symptoms.
- Diagnosing Parkinson’s Disease isn’t simple.
- Treatment should be tailored to your symptoms and your preferences.
- Exercises & healthy lifestyle can help you take better control of your life.
- Depression may affect more than half of all patients, and anxiety affects about 40 percent.
- Stress can make the condition worse.
- Talking to people about the condition can ease it.
- Timely treatment can take care of most of the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.
- Some treatment options such as Deep Brain Stimulation have shown significant results in patients.
Learn more about the Myths related to Parkinson’s disease.
Ques9. My mom says she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Syndrome not Parkinson’s Disease. What does this diagnosis really mean?
Ans9. Parkinson’s Syndrome commonly known as Parkinsonism is a generic term for a group of symptoms that can be seen in someone with Parkinson’s Disease such as tremor, stiffness and slowness of movement. There are several conditions other than Parkinson’s Disease which can cause these symptoms.
Parkinson Disease is a specific disease process leading to these symptoms. A neurologist determines the cause of Parkinsonism by taking a careful history, performing an examination, and sometimes by ordering blood tests or imaging procedures such as MRI, to reach a final diagnosis.
Ques10. Do women get Parkinson’s Disease?
Ans10. Yes, women do get Parkinson’s Disease. As per available research, women on an average develop the disease 2.1 years later than men. However, some studies that evaluated gender differences in PD have found no differences between men and women for the age of onset. When women are first diagnosed, tremor is usually the dominant symptom. The initial symptom in men is usually slow or rigid movement (bradykinesia).
The tremor-dominant form of PD is associated with a slower disease progression and higher quality of life. However, women often report less satisfaction with their quality of life, even with a similar level of symptoms. Please consult a neurologist or Parkinson specialist for more information.