Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease

Introduction

This is a pathological which normally changes the normal movement of a patient. This disorder of the nervous system is progressive in nature and its initial effects are barely noticeably but become intensive as it progresses. Apart from causing the body of a patient to experience tremor, it also causes reduced body movements and in some cases stiffness. It is difficult to notice tremors caused by this disorder at its initial stages but they intensify as the disease takes toll of the patient.

Anatomy & normal physiology of The Affected Organ/Tissue

Patient’s arms may stiffen while walking or even facial expressions may be exhibited at the initial stages of the disorder. However, as the condition progresses, a patient may start to experience acute symptoms of the disease as it is discussed later in this paper.  Studies have shown the prevalence of the Parkinson’s disease is at the age of 60 years. Several patient of Parkinson’s disease fall under this age bracket and it is mostly attributed to lifestyles of such individuals. However, the early-onset of the conditions is considered to occur at 40 years of age. This condition however does not have gender correlation as it affects both men and women at more or less equal measure.

There is not accurate treatment to the Parkinson’s disease currently but there are medications in place that help in reducing the symptoms of the condition when administered timely and accurately. In some cases, doctors recommend for surgery on patients to improve their symptoms and control the functions of the affected parts of their brains.

The brain of as an organ has several functions and one of them is coordination of the body movements. There are several nerve cells in the brain cells that interconnect to form several groups to form ganglia. Ganglia control all the decisions in the brain as far as body movement is concerned.  Striatum which is the central part of the human’s brain receive information initiating movement from the spinal cord. The information is sent back and forth striatum and spinal cord by the susbtantia nigra in form of impulses. Cerebellum and basal ganglia coordinate smooth movement of the body. Circuit of the impulses are activated and inhibited at intervals by the basal ganglia while cerebellum initiates the movement of the impulses.

Impulses are transmitted from brain to the spinal cord through one neuron then to the muscles and vice versa. Some part of the basal ganglia can experience either over-stimulation or under-stimulation in case there is insufficient stimulation of the striatum’s dopamine receptors. One of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease is rigidity and this is caused by a shutdown of the motion. Parkinson’s disease is associated with other pathological conditions such as Lewy Syndrome. They are due to reduced body movement. Death of neurons producing dopamine, a neurotransmitter, is the major cause of Parkinson’s disease. Reduced level of dopamine activity in the brain cells causes the body movement to become abnormal and then symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are exhibited.

As the nerve cells that are meant to produce dopamine continue to die in a Parkinson’s disease patient, it becomes difficult for the brain to control the movement of the muscles. The body of a Parkinson’s disease patient tend to produce more glutamate with an aim of cater for insufficient supply f dopamine. However, with lack of enough dopamine, the brain is not able to transmit muscle movements. When Sub thalamic nucleus (STN) is overactive it stops the normal functions of the globus pallidus interna (GPi) which generally causes the muscles to move causing no motion. Overstimulation of GPi causes reduced functions of the thalamus hence tremor symptoms on the patients.  Acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, is known to oppose all the actions attributed to dopamine.

Symptoms

Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease normally vary from one patient to another. In most cases the early sign go unnoticed because they are mild. The symptoms and signs of the condition that are caused by overstimulation of the GPi include:

Tremor is normally experienced in form of shaking fingers and limbs. Patients of this condition tend to experience a tremor in their hands while in a relaxed condition.

Bradykinesia commonly known as slowed movement.  This occurs after the diseases when the disease has progressed on a patient. At this stage, a Parkinson’s patient finds it difficult to complete some of his/her simple tasks. Steps made while walking may also start to reduce in length while standing from a sitting posture may also be difficult. Feet may also start to drag at this point of time.

Parkinson’s patients experience imbalances and impaired posture.  They also have difficulty in performing subconscious movements such as smiling, eye blinking and even lack swinging arms when on a move.

Change in speech pattern is another symptom of Parkinson’s disease. The speech becomes either quick or soft depending on the previous pattern. Patients also tend to address themselves when speaking.

Stiffening of muscles is normally experienced in all parts of the body but it severe in the limbs and fingers. The patients experience pain when this occurs and are not able to move well.

Treatment / Cure

There is no complete cure for Parkinson’s disease but medications and surgery may be provided to control the effects of the condition. Medications reduce tremor and restore movement. Main aim of medication is provide the required amount of dopamine in the neuro-system.  There are several medications for Parkinson’s diseases such as amantadine, anticholinergics, catechol-o-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors, MAO-B inhibitors, dopamine agonists and cardidopa-levodopa. The most effective medication for Parkinson’s disease is Cardidopa-levodopa. Human brain able to convert levodopa into dopamine when it passes the brain since it is a natural chemical. Cardidopa is combined with levodopa to prevent premature conversion of levodopa into dopamine before it reaches the brain.  Nausea is the major side effect of this kind of medication.

Surgery is another treatment method for Parkinson’s disease and involves a process called deep brain stimulation. Here electrodes are planted at a given part of the patient’s brain by surgeons. A generator that is planted next to the collarbone is connected to the electrons in order to send electric pulses to the brain and improve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Non-scientific cause of Parkinson’s disease is environmental triggers. It is believed that when you get exposed to certain factors you may suffer from Parkinson’s disease. I refute this idea because Parkinson’s disease is caused by insufficient supply of dopamine, a condition that cannot be caused by an environmental factor.

Patients of Parkinson’s diseases who remain untreated experience early death and deteriorated brains. Patients on medication on the other hand experience increased life expectancy. This however, varies from one patient to another depending on side effects of medication on the patient.

Conclusion

In summary, Parkinson’s disease is a pathological condition caused by a neurotransmitter called dopamine and has symptoms such as trauma and reduced movement. It has no specific cure but can be managed through cordopa-levadopa medication of deep brain stimulation surgery.

Reference

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