Parkinson's disease is a progressive condition that affects both the nervous system and the body parts that are under the control of the nervous system. Slow onset of symptoms may occur. A barely perceptible tremor in one hand alone could be the first sign. Although tremors are typical, the disorder can also cause stiffness or sluggishness in movement. Your face may be expressionless in the early stages of Parkinson's disease. Walking might prevent your arms from swinging. You could start to slur or speak in a softer tone. The signs and symptoms of Parkinson's disease worsen as the disease advances. This neurodegenerative condition is typical in seniors. A population-based analysis of 36 million Medicare beneficiaries over 65 shows that 16% of Americans receive PD treatment each year, which is comparable to the prevalence of stroke or migraine.
What are the Risks and Causes of Parkinson’s Disease?
Certain brain nerve cells (neurons) gradually degenerate or die in Parkinson's disease. Many of the symptoms are brought on by the loss of neurons in the brain that make dopamine, a chemical messenger. Dopamine deficiency results in abnormal brain activity, leading to movement impairment and other Parkinson's disease symptoms. The cause of this disease is unknown, but several factors can increase a person’s chance of developing Parkinson’s disease, such as:
Exposure to certain toxins or environmental factors may increase the risk of later Parkinson's disease, but the risk is small.
Specific genetic alterations that can cause Parkinson's disease have been identified by researchers. Except in rare instances where numerous family members are affected by Parkinson's disease, these are however, uncommon.
Parkinson's disease rarely strikes young adults. It typically manifests itself in middle or later life, and the risk rises with age. The disease typically strikes people 60 and up. Making family planning decisions may be aided by genetic counseling if a young person is diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Considerations must be made for the fact that younger people with Parkinson's disease have different needs when it comes to work, social situations, and medication side effects.
Parkinson's disease is more likely to affect you if you have close family members who have the condition. If you don't have many family members who are affected by Parkinson's disease, your risks are still minimal.
What are the Symptoms?
Each person will experience the signs and symptoms of Parkinson's disease differently. Early warning signs might be insignificant and go unnoticed. Even after they start to affect both sides of limbs, symptoms frequently start on one side of the body and tend to stay there.
A tremor, or rhythmic shaking, typically starts in a limb, frequently your hand or fingers. You can move your thumb and forefinger back and forth. A pill-rolling tremor is what is being described here. At rest, your hand might tremble. While working on a task, the shaking might lessen.
Muscles in the arms, legs, or torso can become rigid. This causes discomfort and makes moving difficult. Range of motion, such as how far you can extend your arm, can be restricted by rigidity. Similar to other motor signs of Parkinson's disease, rigidity typically develops on the same side of the body as the other signs and gradually spreads to the opposite side.
The Slowness of Movement (Bradykinesia)
Parkinson's disease may gradually impair your ability to move, making routine tasks challenging and time-consuming. Walking might cause your steps to get smaller. It might be challenging to get up from a chair. As you attempt to move forward, you might shuffle or drag your feet.
Changes in Speech
You might slur your words, speak quickly or softly, or pause before you speak. In contrast to the typical speech patterns, your speech may sound more monotonous.
Loss of Involuntary or Automatic Movements
You might be less able to make unconscious movements like blinking, grinning, or swinging your arms when you walk.
Learning about and understanding a disease or a condition is always an important step toward taking the next action with less stress and anxiety of not knowing what’s to come. Parkinson’s disease is not an easy condition to manage, and you shouldn’t let yourself handle it all on your own.
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