Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the medical condition caused bydegeneration of the central nervous system (the brain). These patients experiencelack of dopamine in the specific region of the brain, known as substantia nigraand accumulation of alpha synuclein proteins in Levy bodies. People affected byParkinson’s disease are usually older than 60 years, but the disease can alsobe present in some younger patients. This medical condition mostly affectsperson’s motor skills, but also causes speech, cognitive and behavioral problems.
Progression of the Parkinson’s disease
This medical condition is not regarded as fatal but it isprogressive in nature. Some patients diagnosed with PD may live up to 20 yearsafter the diagnosis, but there are also cases where the disease is progressingrapidly. Doctors and scientists are still unable to tell the reason or predictthe progress of the condition in each patient. Scientists also discovered that PDpatients live longer if they stay at home, rather than those placed in nursinghomes.
There were some recorded cases where Parkinson’s diseasebecame resistant to the medication treatment and progressed further, usually toLevy body dementia.
The progression of the disease can be measured using two differentscales, such as Unified PD Rating Scale (UPDRS) and Hoehn and Yahr scales. Althoughthese scales are not specific for the patients suffering from Parkinson’sdisease, doctors are able to use them and measure the benefits of the treatmentto the patient. UPDRS is more complicated scale, but it can measure more effects,like motor and mental functions, mood and behavior of a patient, and also some everydayactivities.
Parkinson’s disease Complications
The most common symptom among the PD patients is tremor (uncontrollableshaking of the body muscles). Although motor symptoms are present, some otherchanges may prove to be similarly difficult. This includes some mood,behavioral and cognition problems patients are experiencing.
People with Parkinson’s disease usually have slowed reactiontime, and even their voluntary responses eventually slow down significantly. Theyoften have attention and impulse control problems, and they are not aware ofthe subjective time. In some patients, there is some evident short term memoryloss, problems with verbal fluency and comprehension of the speech.
PD patients are also likely to experience mood changes, andapathy, anxiety and depression are likely to affect them. These problems arefrequent and about 50% of all Parkinson’s disease patients experience moodproblems.
Urinary incontinence is also potential problem, caused bythe changes in substantia nigra and neurons which control the gut function.
Late stages of this disease can cause serious healthproblems for the patients, including: pneumonia, choking and even fatal falls.