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Since it has been discovered experts are looking for the best possible medication or combination of medication that should relieve the symptoms of this serious condition. Unfortunately, today, there is still no cure for Parkinson's disease. Treatment centers on the administration of medication which relieve symptoms.
Mechanism of the disease
Parkinson disease is caused by the damages of the dopamine pathways in the brain. There are four major dopamine pathways in the brain:
1. The nigrostriatal pathway, which mediates movement and is the most conspicuously affected in early Parkinson's disease.
2. The mesocortical,
3. The mesolimbic,
4. The tuberoinfundibular.
These pathways are associated with several functions such as volition and emotional responsiveness; desire, initiative, reward; sensory processes, maternal behavior. Reduction in dopamine along the non-striatal pathways is the likely explanation for much of the neuropsychiatric pathology associated with Parkinson's disease.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
Since Parkinson disease primaily affects movement, in most cases, we are talking about motor symptoms. However, there are many other non-motor symptoms such as disorders of mood, behavior, thinking, and sensation. Here are the most common symptoms of Parkinson;’s disease:
- Bradykinesia and akinesia
- Postural instability
- Shuffling: gait is characterized by short steps, with feet barely leaving the ground, producing an audible shuffling noise
- Decreased arm swing
- Stooped, forward-flexed posture. In severe forms, the head and upper shoulders may be bent at a right angle relative to the trunk
- Festination: a combination of stooped posture, imbalance, and short steps.It leads to a gait that gets progressively faster and faster, often ending in a fall
- Gait freezing
- Dystonia which is characterized by abnormal, sustained, painful twisting muscle contractions
- Festinating speech which is excessively rapid, soft and poorly-intelligible
- Drooling: most likely caused by a weak, infrequent swallow and stooped posture.
- Impaired ability to swallow
- Masked facies
- Difficulty rolling in bed or rising from a seated position
- Impaired fine motor dexterity and coordination
- Impaired gross motor coordination
- Overall loss of accessory movements
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Apathy or abulia
- Slowed reaction time
- Executive dysfunction
- Memory los
- Medication effects
- Excessive daytime somnolence
- Initial, intermediate, and terminal insomnia
- Disturbances in REM sleep
Risk factors for developing Parkinson’s disease
Age is still one of the main risk factors for Parkinson's disease.
Having one or more close relatives with Parkinson's increases the chances of developing this disease the disease, although the risk is still less than 5 percent.
Men are more likely to develop Parkinson's disease than women.
Exposure to pesticides and herbicides
Exposure to herbicides and pesticides puts you at slightly increased risk of Parkinson's.
Reduced hormone levels (Estrogen)
Some recent studies have proven that reduced estrogen levels may increase the risk of developing Parkinson's disease. This means that menopausal women or the ones with hysterectomy done may be at higher risk.