Parkinson's Disorder

The disease is associated with symptoms of muscle stiffness and slowed down movements, but especially tremor in hands; it is diagnosed in one of every 100 people older than 70.

Parkinson's Disorders

Dopamine is one of the substances secreted by cells of brain and it regulates balance of the body. When those cells reduce in size or they are damaged, dopamine cannot be secreted. When dopamine is not secreted, potential symptoms are tremor in hands and body, slowed down movements and stiffness of muscles. The disease manifested by these symptoms is called Parkinson’s disease.

Although Parkinson’s disease is one of the most commonly studied neurological diseases, the underlying cause is not exactly known. There are studies still conducted on genetic structure, toxins and certain substances in brain.

Pay Attention To Symptoms!

  • Parkinson’s disease is a condition that can develop almost at any age. It occurs in the age range of 20 to 80 years. Although it is very rare in young people, Parkinson’s disease is detected in one out of every 100 people older than 70.

    Since Parkinson’s disease progresses very slowly and insidiously, being aware of the clinical signs and symptoms is very crucial in terms of diagnosis.

    Symptoms of muscle stiffness, low back pain, back pain and mild tremor develop in the 2- to 3-year period that is deemed the baseline stage of the disease. It is rational for patients with those symptoms visit a neurologist particularly if they are older than 70. Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease become more prominent over the time. The symptoms are as follows:

    • Tremor

    Tremor is usually the first symptom of Parkinson’s disease. Tremor persists even when the patient rests. It may, sometimes, involve the tongue, jaw and lips. However, tremor is largely observed in hands.

    • Muscle Stiffness

    Another common symptom is the muscle stiffness.

    • Slowed down movements

    Initially, patients face difficulties in fine skills, such as using utensils and holding a glass. Slowing down gradually worsens over time. Difficulties are experienced in daily activities.

    Those symptoms are also associated with gait disorders, standing still, mask-like expression, difficulty swallowing and forward inclination of the body while standing up in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Diagnosis Of Disease

The disease is followed up by neurologists. Patient’s history and examination findings are crucial in diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. Since Essential Tremor and certain vascular disorders also lead to tremor, it is not possible to diagnose Parkinson’s disease for every tremor. It is necessary to investigate whether other clinical signs exist along with the tremor in order to make the definitive diagnosis.

First-line Therapy Is Medication Treatment

There is no curative solution in terms of treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Thus, treatments aim to slow down the progression of the disease. Parkinson’s disease is a quarter-century process on average. Here, the medication treatment is important that will be started in initial stages. Medication treatment is started at a certain dose. The dose is increased over time.

Treatment With Deep Brain Stimulation (Brain Pacemaker)

In Parkinson’s disease, surgery is mostly preferred for the patients who do not respond to the medication or who have involuntary movements secondary to overmedication. Here, the most important treatment method is the deep brain stimulation, colloquially known as brain pacemaker. Surgical treatment should be decided cooperatively by neurologist and neurosurgeon. Brain pacemaker is not a definite solution in treatment. The aim is to alleviate symptoms of the disease and boost quality of patients’ lives.

Special electrodes are inserted into certain regions of the patient’s brain. The other end of the electrode is connected to a pacemaker placed beneath the clavicle and thus, electric current is transmitted to that part of the brain. A neurostimulator surgery consists of two parts. First, a frame is attached to the head of the patient and MRI is scanned. The location where electrodes will be inserted is determined on computer. Next, electrodes are inserted into patient’s brain from both sides of the head under local anesthesia in the operating room. Intended parts of the brain are stimulated. Tremor and muscle stiffness are observed in relevant body part. After fine adjustments are completed, general anesthesia is administered and the pacemaker is placed.

The surgery lasts 4 to 5 hours. The patient stays at the intensive care unit for one night. The patient is discharged following further three-day stay in patient room. The battery settings should be adjusted after the patient is discharged. The patient is asked to present for follow-up visit at 7 to 10 day intervals. Full adjustment is ensured not later than a 3-month period. Quality of patient’s life improves substantially following deep brain stimulation surgery.

First-line Therapy Is Medication Treatment

There is no curative solution in terms of treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Thus, treatments aim to slow down the progression of the disease. Parkinson’s disease is a quarter-century process on average. Here, the medication treatment is important that will be started in initial stages. Medication treatment is started at a certain dose. The dose is increased over time.

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