Parkinson’s disease, or PD, is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects the central nervous system. It mainly affects motor functions like movement and balance. As part of the central nervous system, the brain is affected by PD and can cause a variety of symptoms that vary in severity between individuals. Parkinson’s disease is mostly seen in older adults but can occur at any age from late childhood to late life.
The cause of Parkinson’s disease is not known, but research suggests that both genetics and the environment are factors. People with a family history of the disease have a higher chance of developing the disease. Researchers discovered that toxins, such as those found in some chemicals and pesticides, can also cause PD. The lifestyle choices a person makes may play a role in the chances of developing Parkinson’s disease.
The Parkinson’s disease is caused by the loss of dopamine nurons in the substantia negra (SN) region of the substantia nigra and by microglia-mediated death of nigral dopaminergic neurons. The loss of dopamine nurons causes a further loss of dopamine after degeneration, leading to symptoms.
There are two types of PD
Parkinson’s disease is diagnosed in people who have certain symptoms and one or more signs of the disease. A doctor will determine if a person has Parkinson’s disease based on the person’s history, physical exam, movement abnormalities, and laboratory tests.
Many people with Parkinson’s disease are diagnosed much later than they would be without symptoms. This is because the symptoms are similar to other conditions, such as multiple sclerosis. It is important to have a proper diagnosis, as early treatment can slow or prevent some of the symptoms.
In addition to a neurological examination, testing may include:
An electroencephalogram (EEG) is useful in diagnosing Parkinson’s disease when it shows abnormal wave patterns and low amplitudes in the alpha range.
Parkinson’s disease is treated with a combination of medications, surgical procedures, and physical therapy. Successful management of PD involves medications to help increase the dopamine levels in the brain, which helps improve motor symptoms. Non-motor symptoms are also treated with various medications and therapies to help improve cognitive function and control movement problems.