Parkinson Disease: A Brain Disorder

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Parkinson disease usually strikes late in life( but not nessarily) and begins to progress slowly. A peroid of ten to fifteen years the disease progresses from beginning to severe weakness and eventually to incapacity.  It knows no boundaries, no groups or ethnic backgrounds are exempt, even though some parts of the world have significantly smaller numbers of cases. Men are more likely than women to contract the disease. The disease doesn’t seem to be inherited.

 Parkinson disease was formally called “paralysis agitans” but no paralysis was envolved so the name was changed. The disease begins when the degeneration (or damage) of the nerve cells in the basal ganglia (a small center at the base of the brain) is affected. Parkinson disease is a brain disorder that causes muscle tremor, stiffness, and weakness.

 Some symptoms are:

  • Excessive salivation
  • Poor coordination
  • Faulty body balance
  • Tremor or trembling
  • Rigidity of muscles
  • Shortening of muscles
  • Head and spine forward gait
  • Shuffling when walking
  • Unbalanced walk
  • Uncontrolable tiny running steps
  • Unblinking fixed stare “Parkinson mask”
  • Trouble turning around
  • Weakness of face and throat

No cure exsists. There are over one million cases in the United States each year.Causes are still unknown but studies around a link to influenza virus, hardening of the arteries of the brain, and toxic chemicals manufactered by the body may shed some light on  the causes of this desease someday.

Early treatment such as exercise, special aids and encouragement helps in the early stages.Drugs like L-dopa (Levodopa) which the body converts to dopamine is the most effective treatment. Later drugs added to L-dopa like bromocriptine or amantadine.Temor relief can be helped with anticholimergic drugs.

Some believe that natural supplements like ginkolic, evening primrose oil, and wheat germ oil cure the symptoms of Parkinson Disease, but that is still being studied. Nothing should ever replace a doctors care. Following a doctors recomendations and changes in treatment every three to six months will add many years to a person’s quality of life and span of mobility. Treament is the key to lengthen a person’s interval of normal living as possible.


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