What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s Disease is a condition of abnormal posture, tremor and involuntary movements which makes its appearance in mid-adult life. Parkinson’s disease, one of the most common crippling diseases in the United States, affects men more often than women. According to current statistics, it strikes 1 in every 100 people over age 60. It runs a gradual, progressive and prolonged course.

Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative disease occurring in the basal ganglia of the brain and a decrease in a biochemical compound called dopamine of which the cause is unknown. Parkinson’s disease (also known as shaking palsy) characteristically produces progressive muscle rigidity, akinesia, and involuntary tremor. Deterioration is a progressive process. Death may result from complications, such as aspiration pneumonia or some other infection.

Clinical Features of Parkinson’s Disease

1. The fixed expression of the face and lack of blinking (mask-like).
2. Tremors of the fingers and hands which decrease with movement.
3. Movements are slow. Lack of postural reflexes, which involves spontaneous movements of postural adjustment that help maintain a person in the upright position.
4. Stooped appearance.
5. Shuffling gait. There is a tendency to fall forward or backward as the gait accelerates into a run as if to catch up with the body’s centre of gravity.
6. There is depression, anxiety.
7. Eventually the patient becomes incapacitated by rigidity and tremor so as to be helpless in caring for himself.

Management of Parkinson’s Disease

Because there’s no cure for Parkinson’s disease, the primary aim of treatment is to relieve symptoms and keep the patient functional as long as possible. Treatment consists of drugs, physical therapy and, in severe disease states unresponsive to drugs, stereotactic neurosurgery.

1. Medical management by a doctor.
2. Strong family support and care.

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