Parkinson's Disease Needs Awareness: Everything You Didn't Know About The Disease

NDTV Food Desk  |  Updated: April 13, 2017 17:55 IST

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Parkinson's Disease Needs Awareness: Everything You Didn't Know About The Disease
Highlights
  • Parkinson's disease is a chronic movement disorder
  • People may confuse early symptoms with age related problems
  • Researchers have found a new way to cure Parkinon's disease
Parkinson's disease is common in people above the age of 60

Parkinson's disease is a chronic movement disorder that affects your central nervous system. The disease progresses slowly and worsens over time. More than 10 million people around the world are living with Parkinson's disease yet are many misunderstandings about the disorder and hardly any awareness. The incidence of Parkinson's increases with age, therefore may people may often confuse the early symptoms of the disease with age related problems. This misconception often leads to delay in diagnosis and makes it difficult to treat. 

What is Parkinson's Disease?

Scientifically speaking, Parkinson’s disease involves the malfunction and death of critical nerve cells in the brain which are called neurons. Some of these affected neurons produce a chemical called dopamine which sends messages to the part of the brain which controls movement and coordination. With the progress of disease, the amount of dopamine produced decrease and thus, a person may not be able to control his movements normally. 

Risk factors

Parkinson's mostly strikes people as they age  and only about 4 per cent of the total cases around the world have been found in people below the age of 50. So, the most important risk factor for Parkinson's is age but other factors may be genetic, hereditary or rare cases exposure to some kind of toxins
 
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Parkinson's is not curable but the symptoms can be managedSymptoms of Parkinson's Disease

It can be hard to diagnose Parkinson's disease as symptoms may vary from person to person but these are some of the common symptoms that you should look out for.

1. Tremors or shaking of the hands and legs
2. Slow movement
3. Stiffness of the limbs
4. Impaired balance and coordination
5. Loss of smell
6. Trouble walking or moving
7. Sudden movements during sleep

These symptoms are easy to identify but there may be other warning signs that indicate Parkinson's and are not related to movement at all like change in speech, increased urinary frequency and urgency, and cognitive impairments.

Is Parkinson's disease curable?

There has been no cure of Parkinson's disease but there are treatments available to control the disease and manage the symptoms. There are medications available to restore the balance of neurotransmitters like dopamine in the brain. In severe cases, doctors may also recommend the implantation of a deep brain stimulator or DBS.

CommentsRecently, a group of scientists from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden seemed to have brought us closer to a cure for Parkinson's disease. In a study, published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, they have found a way to replace the brain cells destroyed by the disease with the help of stem cell technique or cell reprogramming which is a process that involves converting one cell type into another. 

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