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Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that affects the movement of the body. Researchers are still working to understand why people develop this disease.

The disease is known as the 14th major cause of death amongst people in the US. The symptoms of this disease usually start with a tremor and stiffness in the muscles.

Early signs are often not noticeable. However, when a person faces extreme difficulty in holding or lifting a glass of water, it is considered as the onset of Parkinson’s.

With time, the symptoms worsen, and the disease progresses. However, the impact and intensity of symptoms are different for each person. This is because the disease is diverse. So Parkinson can deteriorate or progress faster in an individual and slower in another individual.

The causes and reasons for the differences are still under mystery. Parkinson usually develops when people reach the age of 60, but some people, in rare cases, develop it earlier as well.

With time, Parkinson makes it difficult for the affected individual to carry on his/her daily activities such as bathing and dressing on their own.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

Early Symptoms:

  • Constipation
  • Voice change
  • Decreased ability to smell
  • Small and cramped handwriting
  • Stooped posture

Motor Problems:

  • Slow movements
  • Problems in balancing the body
  • Stiffness felt in arms, legs, and trunk
  • tremor

Secondary Symptoms:

  • decreased blinking of eyes and swallowing of food
  • low-volume speech
  • the reduced swinging of arms while walking
  • increased tendency to fall backward
  • increased chances of getting stuck while walking
  • blank expressions on the face

Severe Symptoms:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • hallucinations
  • psychosis
  • sleep disturbances that include movement and talking while sleeping, and weird dreams
  • problem with attention and memory
  • increased chances of developing melanoma, a dangerous skin cancer
  • problem with visual-spatial relationships
  • white and yellow scales known as seborrheic dermatitis occurring on oily areas of the skin


It is difficult to analyze the exact cause of Parkinson’s disease. It could be due to genetic factors or unhealthy surroundings. Some professionals say that viruses can also increase the impact of this disease.

Unusual proteins such as Lewy Bodies have been seen in the brains of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s. However, it is yet unknown what role Lewy bodies play in developing and increasing the intensity of Parkinson’s disease.

Unusual proteins such as Lewy Bodies have been seen in the brains of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s. However, it is yet unknown what role Lewy bodies play in developing and increasing the intensity of Parkinson’s disease.

According to research done in this field, there are a few groups who are more prone to this disease. It includes:

  • Gender: Men have one and a half times more chances of developing Parkinson’s than women.
  • Age: This disease is generally seen in people between the age group of 50 and 60. Only in 5-10% of cases, the diseases occur in people even before they reach 40.
  • Race: People who belong to the White race are more prone to developing this disease in comparison to Asians or African Americans.
  • Family history: Parkinson’s can occur due to genetic problems. So people who have close family members with this disease have a high risk of developing this disease.
  • Head Injury: People who have suffered head injuries due to accidents have more chances of developing the disease.
  • Toxins: Proximity to certain toxins can increase the chances of the development of Parkinson’s.

Different Stages of Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder. It means the symptoms of this disease worsens with time. Many professionals use the Hoehn and Yahr scales to divide the condition into stages.

The scales divide the common symptoms into five different stages. This helps the healthcare experts to analyze the advancement of the disease and suggest treatment and cure accordingly.

Stage 1

Initially, the disease barely shows any symptoms. They will be so mild that you won’t even notice them. The early symptoms won’t affect your daily routine and work. If you do face symptoms, they will be limited to one side of your body.

Stage 2

A person can take months or years to reach stage 2 of Parkinson’s. Every individual will go through a different experience. At this stage, symptoms will be of moderate levels, such as:

  • Tremors
  • Trembling
  • Changes in expressions of the face
  • Stiffness in muscles

Stiffness in muscles can create problems for you and will hamper your daily work. Although, you won’t face any balancing problem at this stage. Symptoms can be seen on both sides of the body. The symptoms of stage 1 will become more noticeable now, such as changes in posture, facial expressions, gait, etc.

Stage 3

At stage 3, symptoms will start becoming worse and more noticeable. However, new symptoms won’t occur, but the old ones will hamper your ability to perform daily tasks. Balancing issues will be seen so you will develop risks of falling. Your movements will become slower, and so your productivity will reduce.

Although, you will be able to maintain independence for now and can complete your daily activities without anyone’s help or support.

Stage 4

Significant changes are seen in the condition of patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when they reach stage 4. During this time, you will face a huge problem in standing without the support of a walker or any other assistance.

Muscle stiffness will become worse. Reactions and movements will slow down. Being alone is extremely dangerous and unsafe for people affected by this disease at this stage. So make sure you live under the care of someone.

Stage 5

This is the last and most advanced stage of Parkinson’s. At this stage, people develop severe symptoms, which are highly problematic. They force the patients to be completely dependent on others for care and assistance.

It becomes difficult for people to even stand on their support. There would be a requirement of a wheelchair for moving from here and there.

Individuals diagnosed with the disease will also suffer from delusions, confusion, and hallucinations. These problems generally occur at this advanced stage only.


Currently, there is not a particular test for diagnosing Parkinson’s disease. Professionals diagnose patients based on their family health history, a neurological and physical test, and by reviewing and analyzing early signs and symptoms.

Tests such as CAT scan and MRI are done to rule out other possible diseases. Doctors can also recommend DAT (Dopamine Transporter) scan. These tests are not exactly used to diagnose Parkinson’s, but they help doctors with the medical diagnosis and clear out the possibility of other diseases.

How to Treat Parkinson’s disease?

To treat Parkinson’s, you have to make changes in your lifestyle, take proper medications, and follow the therapies. Besides this, the following factors are important:

  • Proper and adequate rest
  • Regular exercise
  • Balanced and Nutritious diet
  • Speech therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy

All these can help to reduce the effect of symptoms of Parkinson’s and help you in the self-care process. However, medication is the most important factor. In all kinds of diseases, medication is essential to control and lessen the physical and mental symptoms that are related to Parkinson’s.

In some cases, doctors also recommend patients to try surgery to control the nervous system. This also helps in controlling severe symptoms.

Common Drugs and Medications

  • Levodopa
  • Anticholinergics
  • Dopamine agonists
  • COMT inhibitors
  • Amantadine (Symmetrel)
  • MAO B inhibitors

Prevention of Parkinson’s disease

Although there are no clear measures that can prevent Parkinson’s disease due to the uncertainty about its causes, some common lifestyle factors can help. According to recent research done by doctors and experts, factors such as regular exercise, having a balanced diet that is rich in antioxidants can protect you from developing Parkinson’s.

If you have a close family member who is affected by the disease, then you must go for genetic testing. This is because some genes are associated with the disease. Although, it is not certain that having those certain genes will lead you to the Parkinson condition. You can ask your family doctor about the risks and benefits associated with genetic testing.

Change in Dietary Habits

People affected by Parkinson’s must change their dietary habits and switch to a healthy lifestyle. Diet plays an important role in controlling this disease. It might not prevent the progression of symptoms, but a balanced and nutritious diet will show you positive impacts on your body.

A healthy diet that includes certain nutrients will help to reduce the symptoms and might stop the progression of this condition. Foods that include the following things are recommended.

  • Antioxidants: Products that are high in antioxidants can help you to prevent the chances of damaging your brain and developing oxidative stress. Foods that are high in antioxidants are nuts, berries, and vegetables.
  • Omega-3s: The heart and brain-healthy nutrients present in salmon, flaxseed, beans, oyster, etc. can protect you and your brain from getting affected with the Parkinson disorder. Along with this, you must avoid eating dairy and saturated fat-rich products. They can increase your chances of developing Parkinson’s.
  • Fava beans: They are lime green beans that consist of levodopa. Levodopa is an ingredient used in the medications meant for Parkinson’s diagnosed people.