Parkinson's Disease among Seniors

Parkinson's Disease

 

Parkinson's disease falls under movement disorders and is a degenerative motor system disorder. It usually occurs in 50+ adults. Parkinson's disease occurs when the nerve cells in the brain that are responsible for controlling muscle movements are gradually destroyed. The exact cause of this wasting of the brain cells or why it affects the older population is not known. Patients suffering from Parkinson's disease find it difficult to carry out simple tasks like walking and talking. There are currently 1.5 million Americans and growing who suffer from this disease. There is also a condition called secondary parkinsonism which is caused by certain disorders and medications.

Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease

The symptoms of Parkinson's disease set in subtly and gradually. The main symptoms of Parkinson's disease are:
 

  • Tremor in hands, legs, face and jaw
  • Slowness of movement or bradykinesia
  • Rigidity of muscles
  • Impaired balance



Other symptoms include:

  • Difficulty in chewing, swallowing and talking
  • Stiffness of facial expression
  • Shuffling walk
  • Muffled speech
  • Disturbance of sleep
  • Skin problems
  • Constipation or urinary problems
  • Emotional changes like depression



Treatment of Parkinson's Disease

Even though there is no permanent cure for the disease, there are a number of medications available that provide relief from many of the symptoms. Treatment for Parkinson's disease includes medication and surgical procedures.

Medication:

The commonly prescribed medications for Parkinson's disease are:
Levodopa (trade names Brocadopa ,Larodopa and Bendopa) : For the patients who are suffering from Parkinson's disease, Levodopa helps in reducing the symptoms like stiffness, tremor and slowness. Levodopa is considered the most effective treatment for most of the symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease.
Dopamine agonists: These are a group of medicines that can be used instead or levodopa or alongside it. Other medications used to improve movement in people with Parkinson's disease include:

  • Amantadine
  • Anticholinergic
  • Selegiline



Surgical procedures:

Surgical treatments for Parkinson's disease are considered when medications fail to contain the progression of the illness. Some of the common surgeries undertaken to treat Parkinson's disease are:

  • Pallidotomy
  • Thalamotomy
  • Neurotransplantation
  • Deep Brain Stimulation(DBS)