Parkinson's disease is a disorder of the nervous system. The central nervous is composed of the brain, the spinal cord and the neurons among other minor components. The neurons are further subdivided into three: the afferent sensory neuron, the associative interneuron, and the efferent motor neuron. The disease mostly affects the motor neurons which are a vital part of the CNS. It keeps on degenerating over a long period. The disease lacks acute symptoms. The symptoms appear slowly over time. Some of the most common are individuals shaking, slow movement or at times impaired movement. When nerves are destroyed, movement becomes impossible owing to the role of nerves in movement. In later stages of the disease, brain-related problems begin to develop (Palfreman). The thinking capacity is compromised to dangerous levels that they can run mad. Due to the damage of the CNS, victims have difficulties in sensing. Abnormal sleeping patterns are also reported at some stage. The actual cause of the disorder is still unknown though genetic and environmental factors have been greatly linked to it. It is however ridiculous that there is reduced risk of tobacco users suffering the disorder. Diagnosis is based on the said signs and symptoms.
An essay on shaking palsy by James Parkinson expanded the history of Parkinson's disease in 1817. In the 20th century, the knowledge of the disease and its treatment was significantly improved by use of the advanced technology. In 1865, William Sanders coined the term Parkinson's disease, and later it was popularized by Jean-Martin Charcot, a French neurologist. An essay on the shaking palsy described the characteristics of the disease and how it progressed with time (Palfreman). James Parkinson acknowledged the contribution of other authors who previously understood the disease. The article received much less attention for the forty years that followed. Neurologists made further additions to the knowledge of the disease. Charcot who was among the neurologists championed to give the disease a new name in respect of Parkinson.
In the 20th century, the first meditation about the anatomic substrate of Parkinson's disease was made on Parkinson's essay 80 years later after Edouard Brissaud suggested that the disease had its origin in the subthalamus or cerebral peduncle and could be possibly caused by an ischemic lesion. Fredric levy portrayed a pathogenic finding in affected brains in1912, which was afterward named as levy bodies. Konstantin Tretiakoff in 1919 described that the Substantis nigra was the chief cerebral structure affected, though his findings were not accepted until confirmation was and published in 1938 by Rolf Hassle. The fundamental biochemical differences in the brain were identified in the 1950s by the work of Arvid Carlson on neurotransmitter dopamine and its role in Parkinson's disease.
Signs and Symptoms
The disorder not only causes big damage to the motor neurons but to the motor cells in general. Motor cells play a vital role in osmoregulation and thus enlargement of the cells. Cells associated with the brain are unable to develop without the help of the already impaired Osmo-regulators and thus mad like the behavior of the victims. Tremor is one of the main symptoms of the disease. Individuals begin to shake uncontrollably (Heyn and Davies). The shaking is not similar to the shivering evident in all mammals as a way of generating heat for the body during winter. Theirs is more vigorous and serious. Apart from shaking, sometimes the body tends to be stiff. It is such a tricky disorder in that if one's body is not shaking, it is stiff. Any stiff object cannot be bent with ease. It is rigid. This also applies to victims of the disorder. They experience stiff legs, arms, abdomen and the whole body in general. The stiffness is sometimes accompanied by intensive pain once an individual tries to bend their body. Individuals remain immobile until they regain their normal condition when the stiffness disappears.
Slowness and impaired balance are also reported at some stage of the disease. The two are attributed to the damage in brain cells. The brain is one of the primary organs in any living individual alongside the heart. It controls all the activities of the body. Damage to the brain cells means a decline in the thinking capacity and hence an individual adopts a slow way of tackling issues. Sometimes, the brain may be damaged completely to the point that these individuals may run mad (Robb et al.). The brain has a special section known as the cerebellum. It functions in maintaining the body. Individuals with damaged cerebellum lack body balance which eventually results in reshuffling gait. Anxiety and depression appear at later stages of the disease and are all due to changes in the brain. The symptoms are usually classified into stages. The first stage symptoms are mild and do not affect the general livelihood of individuals. The condition, however, worsens as time goes on. Stage four and five symptoms are usually serious with the victims requiring some assistance to be able to walk owing to their damaged nerves. It is regrettable that the disease is mostly diagnosable at the age of 60 years and above.
Parkinson's disease is normally clinically diagnosed. A physician has to look for presence or absence of possible symptoms of the disease by either by interviewing the patient or by doing a detached neurologic examination. Presently there is no defined test for Parkinson's disease. Therefore, a trained neurologist who is trained to diagnose and treat neurologic disorders can often identify the symptoms of the disease. Consultation with a specialist in movement disorder, who is a specialist that has experienced extra subspecialty practices in the diagnosis and movement disorder treatment, is recommended to avoid misdiagnosis. The diagnosis of Parkinson's disease by trained physicians will be considered if the patient being examined has at least two of Parkinson's symptoms which include tremor, slow movement or rigidity (Heyn and Davies). After the examination, the physician should tell the patient if they have the disease or not and the level of certitude about the diagnosis. The physician can use brain imaging, which is used for particular patients only, to aid the diagnosis. Imaging is always very helpful in diagnosis when looking for changes in the brain and other conditions that are a mimic to the disease. If the symptoms and the examinations are suggestive of Parkinson's disease, the physician prescribes medication for the disease.
There exists no known cure for the disease. However, there are therapies available that are meant to delay the appearance of symptoms (Rakel). Several studies carried out previously show that these therapies are effective for their intended purpose. Levodopa is one of the existing and most efficient as it replaces dopamine in the brain which acts as the neurotransmitter. Levodopa has some discouraging side effects such as cramping of muscles, and hence it is not preferred by a section of victims.
The nature of the disease has motivated scholars to invest in its research. Researchers from Birmingham University in England have come up with a drug. They have come up with a multifunctional compound D-512 (Lindenbach et al.) that has been proved to provide longer relief that the existing medications. The medicine is also said to have fewer side effects than the Levodopa. The other advantage of the drug is that it is a single medication and acts as an antioxidant. Such developments are good news to the world at large as far as eradicating the menace is concerned.
These are the natural way of treating the disease, and they revolve around the lifestyles of individuals. They mostly entail foods consumed and the general activity of the body (Dr. Axe). Raw foods such as vegetables are recommended as a treatment precaution. They have high concentrations of antioxidants that help lower inflammation. High content of fiber in diet will keep away constipation which is common among Parkinson's patients. Intake of Omega-3 rich foods also helps to increase the levels of dopamine which in the long run reduces the rates and risk of inflammation. Vitamin supplements should also be availed to individuals to improve their health. Processed foods and alcohol elevate the symptoms to dangerous levels and should be avoided at all cost. Above all, there is a great need for regular exercises such stretching to avoid the stiffening of the body.
Parkinson's disease is a manageable disorder and the WHO has to invest more in the research for better therapeutic drugs. Nevertheless, before that is done, the available therapeutic measures have to be put in place at all levels so that they are accessible everyone. More emphasis has to be put towards the natural ways of mitigating the effects of the disease. Embracing healthy lifestyles with regular exercises and monitored nutrition is the best way to overcome this menace.
Dr. Axe. "Parkinson's Disease Natural Treatment & Remedies - in 5 Steps." www.com/parkinsons-disease-natural-treatment-remedies/
Heyn, Sietske N., and Charles P. Davies. "Parkinson's Disease Symptoms, Signs, Causes, Stages, and Treatment." Medicinenet.com, 2016, www.medicinenet.com/parkinsons_disease/article.htm#parkinsons_definition_and_disease_facts
Lindenbach, David, et al. "D-512, a novel dopamine D2 / D3 receptor agonist, demonstrates superior anti-parkinsonian efficacy over ropinirole in parkinsonian rats." British Journal of Pharmacology, 2017, 2017, DOI: 10.1111/bph.13937.
Palfreman, Jon. Brain Storms: The Race to Unlock the Mysteries of Parkinson's Disease. 2016.
Rakel, David. Integrative Medicine: Complementary Therapy in Medical Practice. Saunders, 2003.
Robb, Karl, et al. A Soft Voice in a Noisy World: A Guide to Dealing and Healing with Parkinson's Disease. Robb works, 2012.
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