Today is World Parkinson’s Day. It marks the birthday ofan English surgeon who first described the shaking palsy, which later came to be known as Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the motor system of the human body. It starts with slight tremors or shakings, usually in the fingers, and progresses to loss of automatic movement, and problems in walking and balancing the body.
The exact cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown, with many believing it to be genetic and environmental. While there is no complete cure for Parkinson’s, plenty of treatment options are available, which help make the patient’s life more comfortable.
In most cases, individuals are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when they are 60 years or older. However, young-onset of Parkinson’s disease has also been recorded in few instances.
Parkinson’s disease can be split into five stages, with the patient getting progressively worse over each stage.
Stage 1 starts with mild symptoms, such as tremors or movement symptoms. In this stage, the daily activities of the individual are not affected. Only one side of the body starts showing symptoms.
By Stage 2, the symptoms start to worsen with walking problems as both sides of the body get affected.
Stage 3 leads to loss of balance and slowness of movement.
At Stage 4, the person now requires help and usually can’t live on their own.
By Stage 5, a caregiver is required as the person may not be able to stand or walk, and can be prone to hallucinations and delusions.
While an early and accurate diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease can help improve the standard of living to a great extent, there is no exclusive test to diagnose it. As a result, in the starting stages of Parkinson’s disease, it often gets confused with other movement-related disorders.
Research is still ongoing for a complete cure for Parkinson’s. Currently, there are several therapies available, which can help delay the onset of motor symptoms. In advanced stages of Parkinson’s surgery may be an option. Exercise and rehabilitation have proven to help patients, improving their motor functions to some extent.
Parkinson’s disease is still largely unknown to a lot of people. As a result, many people fail to identify the early symptoms of Parkinson’s. On this World Parkinson’s day, let’s take it upon ourselves to increase its awareness. The sooner Parkinson’s gets diagnosed, the sooner you can take measures to provide relief through medications and therapy.