Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a complex or chronic disorder of the central nervous system and it is the second most common neurodegenerative disease in the world today. People suffering from this disease have impaired coordination and balance and their movements are slow. PD was first described in 1817 by Dr James Parkinson but it was not until after 1960 that the medication was established. It entails the loss of brain cells which are responsible for the production of dopamine a chemical that helps in coordination and control of the muscle activity.

 

Complete cure has not been established but researches are being carried out intensively. PD first affects the substancia nigra (SN) which contains the specialized neurons that send signals in the form of a neurotransmitter, the dopamine. When the neurons degenerate they cause a loss of dopamine and consequently making it difficult to control movement. (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2004).

 

Frequency of occurrence of PD is equal for both men and women. It affects the older people more than the younger people and it mostly develops when people are in their late fifties or early sixties. The rate among people between 75-84 years is approximately 30%.

 

Symptoms


Symptoms include tremors and stiffness while walking. Some people experience shuffling of their feet as they walk and unusual swinging of the arms. The body becomes rigid affecting movements. Speech impairments can also be noted which reduces or limits one’s social interactions. At the progressed stages patients experience difficulties in walking, talking or performing simple tasks effectively. Depression may also be experienced and insomnia problems may occur. (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2004).