Some Facts About Parkinson’s Disease

Written by Pliro
Feb 25, 2019 Last updated: Apr 1, 2019

Parkinson’s disease(PD) is a neuro-degenerative disorder characteristic by “tremors”. Previously Parkinson’s disease was not much common in Pakistan, but since about last two decades, much of the cases have been brought on board, making it  a serious neurological disorder in Pakistan too. According to the President of “Neurology Awareness and Research” (NARF), about 1 million Pakistanis suffer from Parkinson’s disease which is quite a big number. Let’s put a light on some important facts regarding Parkinson’s disease.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder in which the brain cells (neurons) tend to degenerate affecting the movement.  PD mostly affects dopaminergic neurons of Substantia Nigra in brain responsible to bring about the motor movement in the human body. Approximately 70-80% of the dopaminergic neurons are lost before the disease becomes clinically prominent.

What are the Risk Factors of Getting Parkinson’s Disease?

a .Genetics and Family history
b. Environmental  factors–  exposure to pesticides, herbicides, use of well water for drinking purposes etc.
c. Age– Parkinson’s Disease tend to affect the older age group more often than people under 50years.
d. Sex– Men are 1.5times at a greater risk of having PD as compared to women.

What are the Symptoms Found In Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s Disease becomes clinically significant gradually. For years patients can remain asymptotic or may start as a mild tremor in the fingers. Commonly present signs and symptoms include;
a. Resting tremor- the tremor is mostly present at rest and disappears during activity.
b. Difficulty in doing tasks requiring coordination of different senses e.g. changing clothes, writing etc.
c. Mask face- expressionless face.
slowness of movement or bradykinesia
e. Rigidity- more commonly cogwheel or rolling pin rigidity.
abnormal posture and balance
g. non motor clinical features like slowness of thinking, sexual dysfunction, constipation, urinary incontinence etc.

How do we Diagnose Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is mostly diagnosed clinically. People with prominent symptoms go through tests like Lumber puncture, MRI , Ct scan in order to rule out stroke, tumor, demyelination etc. However theoretically two major findings include;
1.Loss of  pigmented dopaminergic neurons.
2.Presence of Lewy bodies.

What Age Group is Mostly Affected By Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s Disease mostly affects the older age group above 60 years but in the recent years,  cases under 50years of age are also being reported. The prevalence is 41 in 100,000 aging 40 years while the prevalence increases to 1900 in 100,000 among those who are 80years old or more.

Is Parkinson’s Disease Curable?

Parkinson’s disease is not curable , however it can be controlled or the progression can be stopped. Mostly the management includes symptomatic treatment that may be different for each patient suffering from PD. The commonly used medicines include:
Levodopa coupled with carbidopa
Monoamine Oxidase-B inhibitors
Dopamine agonists

With these medications, strong rehabilitation helps in improving the quality of life of the patient. Speech and physical therapies play a great role in this regard.

Parkinson’s disease is increasing in Pakistan and roughly  10% of the patients are under 50years of age. It is high time government and doctors should start taking measures to make timely diagnosis and post diagnosis management  of PD possible in Pakistan too. One can also visit a neurologist to get regular checkup and for diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.