Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the medical condition caused by degeneration of the central nervous system (the brain). These patients experience lack of dopamine in the specific region of the brain, known as substantia nigra and accumulation of alpha synuclein proteins in Levy bodies. People affected by Parkinson’s disease are usually older than 60 years, but the disease can also be present in some younger patients. This medical condition mostly affects person’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 is progressive in nature. Some patients diagnosed with PD may live up to 20 years after the diagnosis, but there are also cases where the disease is progressing rapidly. Doctors and scientists are still unable to tell the reason or predict the progress of the condition in each patient. Scientists also discovered that PD patients live longer if they stay at home, rather than those placed in nursinghomes.
There were some recorded cases where Parkinson’s disease became resistant to the medication treatment and progressed further, usually to Levy body dementia.
The progression of the disease can be measured using two different scales, such as Unified PD Rating Scale (UPDRS) and Hoehn and Yahr scales. Although these scales are not specific for the patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease, doctors are able to use them and measure the benefits of the treatment to 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 (uncontrollable shaking of the body muscles). Although motor symptoms are present, some other changes 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 reaction time, and even their voluntary responses eventually slow down significantly. They often have attention and impulse control problems, and they are not aware of the subjective time. In some patients, there is some evident short term memory loss, problems with verbal fluency and comprehension of the speech.
PD patients are also likely to experience mood changes, and apathy, anxiety and depression are likely to affect them. These problems are frequent and about 50% of all Parkinson’s disease patients experience moodproblems.
Urinary incontinence is also potential problem, caused by the changes in substantia nigra and neurons which control the gut function.
Late stages of this disease can cause serious health problems for the patients, including: pneumonia, choking and even fatal falls.