Parkinson’s is a disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. The symptoms appear gradually and may begin with a slight tremor in one hand. It causes stiffness or slows down the movement of an individual. There is no permanent cure of this disorder but therapy and medications can significantly improve the symptoms. Usually, the symptoms become worse when the condition progresses.

The disease affects the area of the brain called substantia nigra where dopamine neurons are produced. The exact cause of the disease is unrecognizable, but the treatment options aim at reducing the symptoms.

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Parkinson’s is a disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. The symptoms appear gradually and may begin with a slight tremor in one hand.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s:

The symptoms of the disease vary drastically from person to person. While the early signs are not noticeable, the symptoms begin on one side of the body, worsen over time, and eventually affect both sides. The symptoms are:

· Tremor

Tremor or shaking begins in the arms and fingers. It can also occur in the feet or jaw. During the early stage of the disorder, one side of the body and a single limb is affected. However, the tremors become widespread with the progression of the disease. Stress can worsen tremors. Shaking may disappear during sleep or movement of arms and legs.

· Rigidity in the muscles and stiff limbs

With this nervous system disorder, the muscles cannot stay relaxed, and the individual cannot move freely. Pains or aches in the affected muscles are common, and the range of motion may be restricted.

· Slowed movement or bradykinesia

Due to the slowness of the brain in transmitting necessary information to the body parts, the overall movement of the individual slows down. The slowness of movement can be sudden and uninformed and make an individual disabled. While a patient may move easily at one moment, the simplest of tasks, such as getting out of the chair or putting on clothes may be highly challenging.

· Balancing and coordination problems

With this nervous disorder, an individual tends to lean forward and is prone to fall with bumps. The steps may become shorter and the individual may find it difficult to walk. People may not stop when needed or swing their arms during movement. When taking the steps, the feet may seem stuck to the floor.

· Twisting of muscles or cramps

People with the disorder often experience painful cramps on the feet or toes that may become curled. Cramps may also occur in the other body parts.

Causes of Parkinson’s:

The exact cause of Parkinson’s is not known, but the following can trigger the condition.

· Environmental factors

Exposure to toxins present in the environment can lead to this disorder, but it is relatively rare.

· Genetic mutations

Genetic mutations can cause the disease but it is not common unless several members of a family have the same disease.

· Dopamine levels

Low dopamine levels are also associated with the disease.

· Lewy bodies

Substances known as Lewy bodies are present in the brain cells of people suffering from this disorder. So, Lewy bodies may cause the disorder or provide clue to the cause of this disease.

When to see a physiotherapist for Parkinson’s:

Physical therapists support people with this disorder and help them address the challenges they face with worsening of conditions. Individuals with the disorder can visit physiotherapists:

·   To choose management strategies and prioritize relief from the symptoms

·   Improvement of safety and movement

·   Dealing with the disability of participating in daily activities

·   To know the significance of staying active and for the development of methods to tackle the physical problems.

·   Dealing with the complexity of changing positions, such as getting up from the chair

·   To overcome lack of coordination n handling daily tasks.

·   Learning amplitude training and reciprocal patterns

·   Gait training

·   Stretching exercises for increased flexibility

·   Strength training for weak muscles

Risks or complications of Parkinson’s:

Various risks or complications accompany the disease and they are:

·   Difficulty in thinking

·   Emotional changes or depression

·   Eating and chewing problems

·   Sleep disorders

·   Urinary incontinence

·   Constipation

·   A problem in swallowing food

·   A sudden drop in blood pressure

·   Lack of smell sense

·   Fatigue and pain

·   Decrease in sexual desire

How to prevent Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s disease affects the central nervous system. As the cause of this disorder is unknown, the methods to prevent it are not proven. Some of the prevention methods are:

·   Regular aerobic exercises

·   Consuming coffee, tea, or cola may reduce the risk of the disease

·   Avoid artificially-grown fruits and vegetables

·   Eating organic and raw vegetables

·   Exposure to Vitamin D3

·   Including Omega-3 fatty acids in the diet

·   Consuming green tea

·   Eating food containing CoQ10

·   Reducing stress

Treatments of Parkinson’s:

The following are the treatment options for the disorder, although there is no permanent cure.

· Medication

Medicines, such as levodopa, monoamine oxidase-B inhibitors, and dopamine agonists are used to treat the primary symptoms, such as tremors or lack of movement.

· Physiotherapy

A professional physiotherapist works with the patient relieve muscle stiffness, aid movement, reduce joint pain, and teach exercises. They can also try to improve their fitness levels and teach them to stay self-sufficient.

· Occupational therapy

Occupational therapy aims at identifying the difficulty in doing everyday tasks, such as dressing up, and helps the patients stay independent.

· Speech and language therapy

The speech and language therapist allows the patients to overcome swallowing and speech difficulties.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can physiotherapy cure Parkinson’s?
Physiotherapy helps in controlling the symptoms of the disease.
2. Does the disease affect your mobility?
Due to the reduced level of dopamine in the brain, patients with the disease may fall or freeze suddenly.
3. What happens if you fail to treat the disease?
When left untreated, it can damage the brain cell functions and cause early death.

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