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Parkinson's Disease - Shake your arms senora and shake some more.

Updated on March 14, 2013

My grandma is a warm person. Give her a shake hand and she refuses to let go. Her hands are in a constant 'shake hand' motion. She places complete faith on a wall, wheel chair and walking stick but doubts the intentions of a helping hand.

She is suffering from Parkinson's disease.

Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder of the Central Nervous System. It is one of the most common disorders affecting the elderly, rarely seen in younger adults. In simple terms, the disease is caused due to destruction of a certain class of nerve cells. These cells are essential for synthesizing 'dopamine'; a brain chemical essential for coordinating muscular movements. In the absence of dopamine, muscular function is lost and this condition deteriorates with time.

Symptoms may be mild at first, even unnoticeable. Gradually as the disease proceeds, they become prominent. Some common symptoms that you can take away from a basic PD website are:

  • Slow Blinking
  • Balance problems while walking
  • Light tremors in arms and feet, eventually may be seen in lips, head and tongue
  • Muscle aches
  • Slowed movements
  • Stiffening of muscles
  • Confusions

As the disease progresses, dementia, complete loss of coordination, bent posture are significant symptoms.

There is no cure for PD. Treatment is aimed at controlling the symptoms- symptomatic treatment. Levedopa is the most widely accepted treatment for the disease. L-DOPA is converted to dopamine in the dopamine starved neural cells and provides temporary relief from motor symptoms. However, small amount of L DOPA crosses the sanctum blood-brain barrier thereby leading to side effects.

For patients like my grandma, palliative care is looked at. This focuses on improving the quality of life and adding wholeness to one's life. PD patients require constant attention and help. Most of them prefer to live in one permanent location. Changing homes frequently can bring in insecurity and confusions in patients. Patients who are largely coping and fighting the disease have the inevitable support from their cooperative and understanding families. Love and care, above all is the universal panacea for survival.


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