After watching a recent video on the internet

After watching a recent video on the internet, I was intrigued to research and write about Parkinson’s disease. Even though these videos aren’t always true information, I developed an interest in learning about the cause of Parkinsonism disease. I’ve never understood how someone so healthy can have their whole life turned upside down in their near future. Another reason I wanted to research Parkinson’s disease is because there is no treatment that completely can eliminate the disease. I want to understand why that is and what causes this condition that is unable to be reversed.
Parkinson’s disease is known as an eponym. An eponym is a name or phrase formed from or including a person’s name. Parkinson’s disease was named after a London doctor named James Parkinson. In 1817 Dr. Parkinson wrote an essay called “An Essay on Shaking Palsy”. When Dr. Parkinson wrote his essay he based it on 6 cases that he was following at his own practice. Although it wasn’t until 1817 when James Parkinson’s essay officially established it as a medical condition, people have been aware of this condition since the ancient times. For example in Ayurvedic Medicine it was known as Kampavata, where “kampa” refers to tremors. In 175 AD, a doctor by the name of Galen described the condition as “shaking palsy” which was what it was considered in Western Medicine. Six decades later, Jean Martin Charcot noticed Parkinson’s essay and the importance of his work and officially names the disease after him (Parkinson’s Disease, 2017). The French Neurologist worked closely with his students to identify 2 different types of Parkinson’s disease, the tremor and rigidity stages.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects predominately dopamine-producing (“dopaminergic”) neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra (What is Parkinson’s, 2018). Patients with Parkinson’s disease show chemical differences in their brain as compared to patients without. It wasn’t until 1960 that the differenced where noted. The brains of patients with Parkinson’s disease showed lower levels of dopamine and the nerve cells in part of their brain where degenerated.
In America, Parkinson’s disease is rated the second most common neurodegenerative disorder. In the world there are about 10 million people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Each year in America alone there are about 60,000 new cases of people being diagnosed (Understanding Parkinson’s, 2018). This number does not include the thousands of people that are affected by the condition each year that goes unknown. Parkinson’s disease is more common in males than in females. Men are about 1.5 times more likely to suffer from this diagnosis. The older people are the higher their chance is of being diagnosed with Parkinson’s. About 4 percent of people are diagnosed before the age of 50. YOPD or Young-onset Parkinson’s disease is what it is called when people under 50 suffer from this disease. Fewer than 10 percent of the millions of people that supper from Parkinson’s experience YOPD (Understanding Parkinson’s, 2018). Very rarely you will see a child suffering from Parkinson’s. Children who suffer are diagnosed with juvenile Parkinsonism. This is a very rare circumstance and is typically associated with genetic mutations.
According to research both genetic and environmental factors is what causes Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s is caused by the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the brain. This is the result of nerve cells in the brain either dying or becoming impaired. When part of the brain has low levels of dopamine it affects people’s movement which is what causes the symptoms of the disease (What is Parkinson’s, 2018). Although Parkinson’s disease can be passed down from one generation to the next, this has only been found to be the case in about 10 to 15 percent of people. There are 3 types of Familial Parkinson’s, Autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive and risk factor modifiers genes. This is caused by mutations in several genes. These genes include LRRK2, PARK7, PINK1, PRKN and SNCA genes (What is Parkinson’s, 2017). Autosomal dominant Parkinson’s disease is very rare and can be caused by only one altered gene. This affects only 2 percent of people. Autosomal recessive Parkinson’s disease is present only if there is 2 genes that are being altered, Last the risk factor modifiers gene are genes that will modify the risk of developing Parkinson’s. Just because you may carry a mutated gene it doesn’t mean you will be affected by the disease. Environmental factors can affect your chances of getting the disease as well. Although scientist are still studying this disease many experts believe that it is a combination of genetic and environmental factors that contribute to the diagnoses of the disease. Examples of environmental factors that can affect you are exposure from chemicals related to your work as well as traumas to your head and places you live. Jobs that people are exposed to pesticides, herbicides, metals and other chemicals have a higher risk of being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Environmental factors don’t always increase your risk of getting Parkinson’s. For example, caffeine, uric acid, smoking, cholesterol, vitamin d, exercise and anti-inflammatory drugs will actually decrease you chances of getting Parkinson’s when you are older.
Parkinson’s can be very difficult to detect and thousands of people each year go without knowing. Some signs that indicate that you may have the condition of Parkinson’s disease can vary from extreme symptoms to something as little as difficulty sleeping. Some symptoms that may indicate a person has Parkinson’s are little tremors or shaking in certain body parts like their fingers or hand as well as their chin, a change in the size of your handwriting, for instance your words may looked clumped together or very tiny, loss or decrease in the sense of smell, difficulty sleeping, change in motion, for example you may feel more stiff, painful, hard bowel movements or constipation, change in your tone of voice, you may sound horse or really soft spoken, you may notice that you have a straight face even when you’re in the best of moods, trouble standing up straight, and symptoms such as low blood pressure can also be related to Parkinson’s.
The following symptoms are all signs that you may be in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease and you should get checked by your doctor. People may also exhibit moving symptoms such as drooling and cramping. The reason people diagnosed with this condition may have these symptoms is because they have a lower level of dopamine in the brain which is responsible for controlling your movements, emotions and feelings. People always assume that if you have Parkinson’s it only affects your movement but that is wrong. People can have non-movement symptoms as well. For example someone with this condition may be tired, have diaphoresis, Increase in dandruff, hallucinations, erectile dysfunction and many other symptoms that don’t come across as noticeable as tremors. Patients with Parkinson’s all display different symptoms, no two cases are identical.
Parkinson’s disease is very difficult to diagnose. There are many other medical conditions that exhibit symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. In that case people are said to have Parkinsonism, not Parkinson’s disease. This condition is not something that can be diagnosed with laboratory testing. To diagnose someone with Parkinson’s disease, your doctor will look over your past medical history, do a neurologic exam as well as diagnostic testing. Although it is difficult to diagnose this condition in its early stage, if a patient exhibits two out of four of the main symptoms for a prolonged period your doctor can come to the final diagnoses of Parkinson’s. The four main symptoms are tremors, bradykinesia which is the slow movements, stiffness or the upper or lower extremities as well as your trunk, and difficult balancing also known as postural instability. Doctors can use all different scales to determine the stage of the disease. The most commonly used are the Hoehn and Yarh scale which are based on the patient’s symptoms. Although these are the most common they are not the most comprehensive. The United Parkinson’s disease rating scare takes into consideration not only the patients symptoms but their ability to complete daily activities, cognitive difficulties, patient’s mood and behaviors as well as the treatment complications. Many people will see a neurologist after receiving the initial diagnoses from their primary doctor.
When patients have Parkinson’s disease the symptoms alone is something they need to have caution about. There is also many other complications that people aren’t aware of. Someone who has had Parkinson’s disease and is in the later stages may have difficulty thinking reasonable and have impaired judgment. People suffering from Parkinson’s disease may also become depressed or suffer anxiety problems. Parkinson’s disease has several complications. Patients may have difficulty controlling urinations and bowel problems, difficulty swallowing, and sudden changes in blood pressure which can cause dizziness and fainting. A lot of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can also be considered a complication. Patients that live with Parkinson’s have to alter their lifestyles and find new ways to go about things. For example someone who used to have no problems sleeping May now difficulty falling asleep, the erge to wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, restless leg symfrom and exhibit different sleeping disorders after being diagnosed. Although being diagnosed with this condition comes along with a lot of complications, it is not fatal. This condition may not be fatal but because of all the symptoms and it being a degenerative disorder, patients will become completely debilitated. The symptoms of this condition can also lead to serious injuries or falls leading to death. Like stated earlier in the essay, no two patient’s cases are the same. Typically the condition worsens over 15 years but the rate of progression will be different in every patient. Patients may go 15 years with the disease and still have a good range of motion and little disability while others may progress at a much faster rate leaving them permanently disables after 10 or 25 years. There are patients that go without knowing they have this condition and leaving it untreated which can lead to the loss of all brain function and early death. Patients that are diagnosed at an early stage will also show have a shorter life span than someone being diagnosed in their late 50’s. People who have this condition need to alter lifestyles and create a new and safer environment to live in to decrease the risk of getting hurt.
Treating Parkinson’s disease is very helpful in extending the life expectancy of patients. There is no treatment that fully gets rid of the disorder; instead the treatment is geared towards the patient’s symptoms. Some treatments that help with the symptoms are prescription medications, surgical procedures, exercise, oven the counter drugs, vitamins and clinical trials. Certain prescription medications can temporarily replenish dopamine levels which will help to reduce the symptoms. Examples of prescription medications are levodopa, dopamine agonists, amatadine, COMT inhibitors, Anticholinergic drugs and MAO-B Inhibitors. If a patient takes levodopa and their symptoms improve, surgical procedures may be the next step for the patient. Surgical procedures are usually the last course of action and are not planned until all other treatments have been exhausted. Two examples of procedures that patients can undergo are deep brain stimulation and duopa. Radiation to the brain can also help to relieve tremors and other symptoms. Patients may not be in favor of medical marijuana or even against it but that is another option for patients. This treatment is in the trial phase and is not yet stated that it can benefit patients with Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is a condition that causes your body to have lower levels of dopamine in the brain. The loss of dopamine is a result of the nerve cells dying or being impaired. This causes your body to exhibit symptoms that a lot of times go unnoticed until it becomes in the later stages of Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s is something that cannot be reversed but you can have treatment that will alleviate the symptoms. This condition is still being researched on and each year new treatments are being evolved. I personally don’t know anyone suffering from Parkinson’s but I am excited to take the information I learned while researching and inform and make others aware of this condition.

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