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Parkinson's Disease - Understanding The Motor & Non-motor Symptoms!

MCh - Neurosurgery, MBBS
Neurosurgeon, Chennai  •  18 years experience
Parkinson's Disease - Understanding The Motor & Non-motor Symptoms!

What is Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive and degenerative disorder of the Central Nervous System that mostly affects older people. It is a chronic disease and the symptoms develop over a period of time. The characteristic symptoms of Parkinson’s are rigidity, shaking, bradykinesia (slowness in movement) and shuffled gait. Anxiety and depression also seem to be common in advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease. In addition to the motor symptoms, the cognitive function of the brain is also compromised.

Degeneration of the nerve cells in the substantia nigra of the brain results in the reduction in production of dopamine which is a neurotransmitter in the brain. Neurotransmitters relay impulses from one nerve to the other. This is what is mainly responsible for the motor symptoms in Parkinson’s. Although, Parkinson’s is not a curable disease, it can be controlled and the progress of the disease can be kept in check with certain medications.

What causes Parkinson’s disease?
The cause of Parkinson’s is mostly idiopathic, i.e. the cause is unknown and is not specific. However, there have been cases which show that it can be attributed to factors such as genetic and environmental factors.
What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s?

The symptoms of Parkinson’s can be classified as Motor symptoms and Non-motor symptoms:

Motor Symptoms 

  • Bradykinesia: Slow movement
  • Tremor of limbs
  • Rigidity or stiffness of trunk and limbs
  • Impaired balance and difficulty in coordination or postural instability

Non-motor Symptoms 

Parkinson’s disease is not curable, but when detected early, medicines are prescribed to give symptomatic relief. Dopamine substitutes are prescribed to the patient to relieve the motor symptoms.

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