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Parkinson’s Disease: The 7 Symptoms to Recognize It!

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Parkinson’s Disease: The 7 Symptoms to Recognize It!

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the central nervous system, progressing slowly and affecting movement control.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the central nervous system, particularly those parts of the brain responsible for controlling movement. The disease was first described in 1817 by the English physician James Parkinson, and research has made much progress since then, but the definitive cure remains to be found.

Cause

The exact causes of Parkinson’s are not completely understood, but researchers have identified some factors that may play a significant role. Genetically, mutations in specific genes have been associated with the disease, although this affects only a small percentage of cases. Environmental factors, such as exposure to pesticides and some heavy metals, are considered potential triggers of the disease. Additionally, the loss of neurons that produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter essential for movement coordination, is a hallmark of Parkinson’s.

Symptoms

Parkinson’s symptoms are varied and develop gradually, often starting so mildly that they go unnoticed. The following seven symptoms are among the most common:

Tremor at rest: One of the earliest symptoms, it usually starts in a hand or limb and can worsen with stress or emotion.

Muscle stiffness: Patients often experience resistance when moving their arms or legs, which limits their range of motion.

Bradicinesia: Slowness of movement is one of the cardinal signs of Parkinson’s, affecting daily activities such as dressing or eating.

Postural instability: Balance and coordination problems can make it difficult to maintain posture, increasing the risk of falls.

Gait alterations: The disease can cause walking in small steps or the inability to initiate movement of the feet.

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Autonomic dysfunction: This includes problems such as constipation, erectile dysfunction and excessive sweating.

Cognitive and mental health changes: Many patients experience cognitive changes, depression, anxiety, and sleep difficulties.

Treatments

While there is no cure for Parkinson’s, there are several treatments that can help manage symptoms. Levodopa, combined with another drug called carbidopa, is the most common treatment and increases dopamine levels in the brain. Other medications may include dopamine agonists, MAO-B inhibitors, and anticholinergics, which help control symptoms or improve motor functions.

In addition to medications, physical therapy plays a crucial role in maintaining mobility and improving quality of life. Occupational therapy helps patients manage daily activities, while speech therapy can improve speech and swallowing problems.

Recently, surgeries such as deep brain stimulation (DBS) have been used to treat patients who do not respond to medications. This method involves implanting electrodes into the brain to regulate neural signals.

In conclusion, although Parkinson’s is a complex disease with many challenges, advances in understanding and treatment offer hope to those affected. With a combined approach of pharmacological, physical and, when necessary, surgical therapies, many patients can maintain an active and satisfying life.

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