Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's Disease is a degenerative disorder of the nervous system.
Parkinson's is a disease that may happen in younger people, but the risk mainly increases
with age. This is because many of the cellular systems in the brain are difficult to renew
by themselves while there are trillions of nerve cells in the brain to compensate for the
loss of these cells. For example, in Parkinson's disease the symptoms are caused by the
selective loss of a small population in the brain consisting of about 500,000
dopaminergic cells. The dopaminergic cells are situated deep in the midbrain and carries
messages back and forth to nerve cells. In any brain that grows older, some of these
dopamine cells will die over time. The rate at which the cells die is different among
individuals. Some people, whose rate of dopamine cell death is slightly higher than
normal. the chance that they will soon lose critical 85-90 percent of the cells that are
needed for normal function is high. The brain can somehow manage to compensate for a
loss of about 85 percent of these cells, but when only a small number of working
dopamine cells or less remain on each side of the brain, the symptoms of Parkinson's
disease appear. The neurotransmission that takes place at the nerve terminals that
produce dopamine is needed for all of us to initiate movements, and without it, we freeze
up and become unable to move.
Tremors are the symptom the public most often identifies with Parkinson's
disease, but in fact up to 25 percent of patients experience very slight tremor or non at
all. When it is present, the tremor may be worse on one side of the body. Besides
affecting the arms and legs, it sometimes spreads to the head, neck, face, and the jaw.
Another symptom of Parkinson's disease is Rigidity, which is an increased tone or
stiffness in the muscles. Unless it is temporarily eased by anti-Parkinson's medications,
rigidity id always present. However, it increases during movement. It is often
responsible for a mask-like expression of the face. In some patients, rigidity leads to
sensations of pain, especially in the arms and shoulders.
Bradykinesia is the slowness of movement a person with Parkinson's disease will
usually have. This symptom is characterized by a delay in initiating movements, caused
by the brains slowness in transmitting the necessary instructions to the appropriate parts
of the body. when the instructions have been received, the body responds slowly in
carrying them out.
Poor balance also tends to affect people with Parkinson's disease. This is mainly
true when they move harshly, causing a sudden change in the position of their bodies.
Some patients experience repeated falls due to poor balance.
Walking problems commonly include a decreased or non-existent arm swing,
short shuffling steps, difficulty in negotiating turns, and sudden freezing spells that make
a person unable to...