Parkinson’s is one of the most common neurodegenerative disorders that results in the progressive loss of muscle control. The condition is a result of nerve damage that occurs due to reduced levels of dopamine, a fluid essential for normal brain function. The nerve cells or neurons are mainly responsible for carrying brain signals and impulses back and forth to control and promote body actions and activity. A miscommunication or severed nerve endings can result in the loss of basic motor function and tremors, one of the primary symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Juvenile-onset Parkinson’s affects people under the age of 21 while early-onset Parkinson’s affects people between the ages of 21 to 40. The progressive condition gets worse over time and predominantly affects people who are above the age of 60. The severity of the symptom also directly depends on the degree of nerve impairment. Note that loss of dopamine is the main cause and trigger of Parkinson’s disease thus resulting in inconsistent signals and misfiring neurons all affecting a person’s gross motor skills. There are five main stages of Parkinson’s with the symptoms of the neurological disorder varying accordingly.
Following are common treatment methods for Parkinson’s disease:
Taking medication is one of the first steps to managing the motor-related symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Symptomatic therapy that features multiple strengths and combinations of medications is one the most effective recourse for managing the symptoms of a progressive disorder. Other classes of medications include MAO inhibitors, Dopamine Agonists, COMT inhibitors, and Anticholinergic agents. The severity of the symptoms and extent of nerve damage will determine the dosage necessary. The combination of medications will vary greatly depending on the initial stages of Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease mainly affects the gross motor skills of a person that can affect even some of the basic hand, feet, and chin movements. A combination of physical, occupational, and speech therapy is the recommended course of treatment for the mild to moderate stages of the disorder. Overcoming speech impairment due to reducing the chin function is possible with speech therapy. Occupational therapy is used to tune and regain fine motor skills to some extent. Finally, physical therapy will help one regain their bearings with a proper exercise regimen.
Surgery is the last option for people suffering from severe symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is an FDA approved the procedure, also one of the most sought-after treatment options. DBS involves the use of electrodes to stimulate nerve cells that are no longer active to trigger a response. The treatment is specific to the area affected and can alternatively be done on both sides of the brain.
Medications, therapy, and even surgery will not be effective unless one makes lifestyle changes post-treatment to assist in the recovery. A fitness regime for Parkinson’s disease patients will include a combination of cardiorespiratory exercises for fitness training, resistance exercises for strength training, and flexibility exercises to improve one’s gait and balance. One must also follow a healthy diet plan to increase energy and maximize the potential of medications.