Parkinson’s Disease: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

February 15, 2023 | Brain and Spine Specialists

Most people know about Parkinson’s disease from movies or TV shows, where the main character often shakes uncontrollably. But there’s a lot more to it than that. Parkinson’s disease is a serious neurological disorder that affects both the mind and body. It can oftentimes be debilitating, and there is no known cure. However, with proper treatment, many people with Parkinson’s disease are able to live relatively normal lives. In this blog post, we discuss the causes, symptoms and treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive neurological disorder that affects the central nervous system. The cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown, but it is thought to be related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. 

Can you Prevent Parkinson’s?

It has been an ongoing question – can people prevent Parkinson’s disease from developing in the first place? Currently there is no definitive answer, as research continues to investigate this inquiry. There are definitely measures that can be taken to lower risk factors including preventing head trauma, maintaining good nutrition and exercise habits, limiting heavy caffeine consumption and striving for mental well-being through socializing and stress management. Most importantly, keep up with regular routine checkups and screenings with a doctor for more personalized advice about preventing Parkinson’s.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s

Symptoms of Parkinson’s can vary from person to person, but typically include tremors, slowness of movement, rigid muscles and impaired balance. Other symptoms may include changes in speech, depression or anxiety, difficulty swallowing and sleeping disturbances.

Stages of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease results in rigidity and reduced movement speed, often going unnoticed in its early stages. Typically, patients with Parkinson’s go through five distinct phases.

  • Stage 1: Mild symptoms, unlikely to be diagnosed.
  • Stage 2: More noticeable symptoms, but no balance impairment.
  • Stage 3: Progressing disease, but patient remains independent.
  • Stage 4: Difficulty performing daily tasks, may struggle to walk but can still stand unassisted.
  • Stage 5: Considered late-stage Parkinson’s, this stage is the most advanced and requires around-the-clock care.

Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease

Many treatments for Parkinson’s exist, including medical and surgical options, but a cure has yet to be found. Medications can potentially improve walking, tremors, and movement by boosting dopamine levels. On the other hand, deep brain stimulation is a surgical procedure that involves the implantation of electrodes into the brain that are connected to a generator in the chest. The generator sends impulses to the brain to alleviate symptoms, but it carries risks such as infection, stroke, or bleeding. 

To find the best Parkinson’s treatment for you or your loved one, contact the specialists at Brain and Spine today!