A progressive nervous system disorder affecting movement is termed Parkinson's disease. A mild tremor in one hand is an early symptom of Parkinson’s and gradually leads to stiffness or slowing of movement.The face of an affected individual shows little or no expression, and the arms may not swing while walking. Speech becomes soft or slurred.
The different stages of Parkinson’s disease are as mentioned below:
Stage One: Mild symptoms are noted that do not interfere with daily activities. Tremors occur on one side of the body.
Stage Two: Tremor, rigidity, and movement symptoms affect both sides of the body. Walking problems and gait issues are prominent.
Stage Three: Loss of balance and slowness of movements are noticed. Falls are more common.
Stage Four: Though standing independently is possible, movement requires a walker. Daily activities require help.
Stage Five: Stiffness in the legs makes it impossible to stand. Nursing care is required as the person experiences hallucinations and delusions.
What are the Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
The signs and early symptoms of the disease condition are as follows:
- Cramped handwriting
- Uncontrollable movements during sleep.
- Limb stiffness or bradykinesia
- Stooped posture
What are the Causes of Parkinson’s Disease
Neurons in the brain gradually die producing dopamine in the brain. When dopamine levels decrease, it leads to abnormal brain activity. This is a symptom of having Parkinson's disease.
Some of the causes for Parkinson's disease are as follows:
Genes: Specific genetic mutations cause Parkinson's disease
Environmental triggers: Exposure to certain toxins
Presence of Lewy bodies: Clumps of specific substances in the brain cells called Lewy bodies are causative for Parkinson’s disease
What are the Complications of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson's disease isaccompanied by the following:
- Thinking difficulties and dementia
- Depression and emotional changes
- Swallowing problems
- Chewing and eating problems
- Sleep problems
- Kidney and bladder problems
- Blood pressure changes
- Sexual dysfunction
How is Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosed
There are no specific tests to diagnose Parkinson's disease. A neurologist diagnoses Parkinson's disease based on medical history, a review of the signs and symptoms, and a neurological examination. A dopamine transporter scan is performed as it helps support the suspicion of having Parkinson's disease. Blood tests are done to rule out other conditions. Regular follow-ups with neurologists helps to evaluate the symptoms over time.
How is Parkinson’s Disease Treated
There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, though medications help control the severity of the symptoms. Lifestyle changes are made, especially aerobic exercises are prescribed. A speech-language pathologist helps improve the speech issues. Medications include a substitute for dopamine to manage problems with walking, movement and tremor.
Stem Cell Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease
Stem cells are cells that can differentiate into any cell type based on the requirement. Research on stem cells has shown that dopamine cells can be produced from stem cells. Stem cells differentiate into dopamine producing neurons, which is then used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Stem cells can become any cell of the body and thus are a promising source for new dopamine cells. These cells imitate the functions of dopamine neurons, thereby being able to treat Parkinson’s disease. Also the paracrine the activities of stem cells accompanied with stem cell differentiating into neural cells can overcome the brain damage and symptoms pertaining to it.