World Parkinson’s Day – 11 April, 2017

This World Parkinson’s Day lets raise awareness for those in suffering

New Delhi, April 10, 2017: Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive degenerative disease of nervous system. It affects over ten million people in the world and around 1% of the population affected by Parkinson’s disease is over sixty years of age. While there are no established studies that have been conducted for Parkinson’s, incidence rates suggest that the occurrence is between 1.5 to 20 people per 1,00,000 a year. Characterised by the shaking and slowness of the body, Parkinson’s disease occurs due to  deficiency  of the chemical Dopamine  produced in  part of the brain known as the ‘substantia nigra’ and is responsible for the smooth and coordinated muscle movements of our body.

Dr. Jyoti Bala Sharma, Senior Consultant, Department of Neurology, Fortis Hospital, Noida shares her views on recognizing the early signs of Parkinson’s disease and ways to tackle it.

Ø  Causes for Parkinson’s disease:

  1. Genetic factors:

– The vast majority of Parkinson’s cases are not directly inherited.

-About 3% to 5 % percent of people with Parkinson’s report having a relative with the disease.

-People with an affected first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, have a four to nine percent higher chance of developing the disease.

  1. Environmental Factors

           -Use of pesticides and exposure to herbicides in food products can cause neurological damage

            -A rural environment may increase a person’s exposure to pesticides and solvent

            -Consumption of well water may contain metals which lead to the onset of Parkinson’s   disease

Ø  Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease:

People in the age group of 50 to 60 generally get affected by the Disease, the major symptoms of the disease include

  1. Trembling of hands, arms, legs, jaw and face
  2. Stiffness of the arms, legs and trunk
  3. Slowness of movement
  4. Poor balance and coordination

Ø  Diagnosing Parkinson’s disease:


       In order to diagnose Parkinson’s disease

  1. A clinical history of the patient is needed.
  2. The patient has to undergo a comprehensive physical and neurological examination.
  3. A Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain can be taken to evaluate for possible

–          cerebrovascular disease (including multi-infarct state, chronic subdural hematoma)

–          space-occupying lesions

–          normal-pressure hydrocephalus

  1. PET or SPECT scans can be considered in atypical cases of Parkinson’s disease.

Ø  Treatment of Parkinson’s disease:

  1. There are several medicines that can manage symptoms, slow the disease down tremendously and make it easier to live with. In advanced stage of Parkinson disease patient may require surgery known as deep brain stimulation
  2. Exercise and good dietary habits are essential to improve quality of life of a patient with Parkinson disease
  3. Speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy are also required along with medicines.
  4. As the disease progresses, some other issues that may come up are:

–          Personality Changes

–          Depression

–          Swallowing

–          Sleepiness

–          Fatigue

–          Dementia

Ø  The role of a caregiver:

  1. Ensure that the disease and its ramifications have been fully understood
  2. Ensure that the treatment is conducted in smooth manner
  3. Ensure that as the disease progresses, the comfort of the patient is kept a priority and not compromised on
  4. Continue keeping the patient engaged in activities to ensure for good mental health

While Parkinson’s has no cure, it’s onset and progression is extremely slow and symptoms can be controlled with treatment which helps maintain the quality of life for the patient. One should always remain alert for any indication regarding the worsening of the condition and should carry out instructions as per the doctor’s orders and with the help of a physical therapist.


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