Know About Parkinson’s Disease

By Dr. Puneet Agarwal in Neurology

Apr 21 , 2023 | 3 min read


Parkinson's disease is a neurological disorder that can affect movement. A progressive condition, it primarily affects the elderly population, but it can also occur in younger individuals. Parkinson's disease is caused by the degeneration of dopamine-producing neurons in the brain, leading to a deficiency of this neurotransmitter. Dopamine is in the control of movement, and its deficiency can cause the characteristic symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

Symptoms of Parkinson's Diseases

Symptoms of Parkinson's develop gradually and may vary from person to person. Some common symptoms of Parkinson's disease include:

  • Tremors- Tremors are usually the first symptom that people notice, and they commonly occur in the hands, arms, or legs when they are at rest.

  • Stiffness- Stiffness and rigidity of the muscles can cause discomfort and limit mobility.

  • Slow movements- Slow movements can make simple tasks like walking, dressing, and eating difficult.

  • Balance problems- Balance problems can lead to falls and injuries.

Causes of Parkinson’s Disease

The exact cause of Parkinson's disease is not known yet, but it is believed to be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The risk of developing Parkinson's disease increases with age, and it is more common in men than women. Other risk factors include exposure to certain toxins and head injuries.

Complications of Parkinson's Disease

Complications of Parkinson's disease can include:

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Cognitive impairment

  • Difficulty with speech, swallowing, and bladder control

These can be just as debilitating as physical symptoms and can significantly impact the quality of life.

Treatment of Parkinson's Disease

Currently, there is no cure for Parkinson's but steps can be taken to manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Medications can help increase dopamine levels in the brain and alleviate some symptoms. However, these medications may have side effects, and their effectiveness may diminish over time.

Lifestyle Changes to Manage Parkinson's Disease

Some additional lifestyle modifications that help people manage their symptoms include:

  1. Staying active: Exercise is essential for people with Parkinson's disease. Regular physical activity can help improve balance, flexibility, and mobility and reduce stiffness and tremors. Exercise can also help improve mood and overall well-being. It's important to choose activities that are appropriate for your level of fitness and abilities. Some good options include walking, swimming, and yoga.

  2. Getting adequate sleep is essential for everyone, but it's crucial for people with Parkinson's disease. Fatigue and excessive daytime sleepiness are common symptoms. Establish a regular sleep schedule, create a comfortable sleep environment, and avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime.

  3. Eating a healthy diet: A healthy, balanced diet can help support overall health and well-being for people with Parkinson's disease. A diet rich in fruits, lean proteins, healthy fats, vegetables and whole grains can provide nutrients needed to support brain health and physical function. 

  4. Managing stress: Stress can worsen the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, so it's important to find ways to manage stress levels. This can include practising relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga and engaging in enjoyable activities such as reading, listening to music, or spending time with loved ones. 

  5. Staying socially engaged: Loneliness and social isolation can be common for people with Parkinson's, particularly as the disease progresses. Staying socially engaged can help improve mood and overall well-being. This can include joining a support group, participating in community activities, or staying in touch with friends and family.

  6. Make home modifications: As Parkinson's disease progresses, it can become more challenging to perform daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and getting dressed. Making home modifications such as installing grab bars, adding ramps or stairlifts, and using adaptive equipment can help to make daily tasks easier and safer.

This World Parkinson's Day, awareness and lifestyle modifications can help manage symptoms of Parkinson's disease and maintain their overall health and well-being. It is necessary to work with a healthcare team to develop a treatment plan for parkinson's disease that includes a combination of medications, therapies, and lifestyle modifications to help manage the disease.