Parkinson's Disease Explanation

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Parkinson's disease is a degenerative neurologic disease. It affects the nervous device and gets worse after some time. The condition regularly deteriorates the muscular function; this leads to the production of muscle tremors, akinesia and also rigidity. Over time, the disorder increases in severity.
It was described in the beginning in the year 1847 by James Parkinson who was once an English doctor and later named after him. Parkinson’s disease impacts men more as in contrast to women. It is caused by a dopamine which is a variety of deficiency affecting extrapyramidal nuclei. It is usually found in the basal nuclei. The circumstance can be said to be as a result of degeneration of the dopaminergic neurons. The acetylcholine levels increase in the parts of the brain which end to the imbalance of the neurotransmitters (Weiner, Lisa & Anthony, 3).


Parkinson's disease can be said to be a condition of the basal ganglia. Basal ganglion is a composition of cells that are centrally placed on the base of the forebrain. The cells are connected to the cerebral cortex and the thalamus. These parts of the brain are responsible for an assortment of capacities like; programmed and voluntary motor control, orderly learning of all the routine, standard practices and one's feelings at all times. The striatum involves caudate, putamen and the biggest atomic complex of basal ganglia. It gets excitatory contributions from various parts of the cerebral cortex. It additionally receives inhibitory and excitatory input from dopaminergic cells beginning from the substantia nigra pars compacta (Ahlskog, 37).
Parkinson’s disease progresses a little bit slowly after symptoms are evident to a definitive diagnosis. Before a person who is suffering from the disease could face serious disability, it is usually after ten years or more sometimes symptoms can occur even after a decade. Treatment is available to relieve the symptoms; to help enhance the patient's quality of life (Weiner, Lisa & Anthony, 4).
Parkinson disease affects people in their late fifties and early sixties. An individual diagnosed with the disease progressively fail to control his/her movement, this subsequently affects the ability to control initiation. The speed of the individual is also affected and the smoothness of motion. Only 15% of people between the age of 65 and 74 experience the symptoms of Parkinson disease. It has not yet been established why some people suffer illness and others do not. The disease is also common in Europe and North America than it is in Africa and Asia. People who have Parkinson's disease have a specific group of cells in their brains that get progressively injured. With time, they degenerate or even die. The cells are termed as neurons. This process is what causes the characteristic symptoms of the disease (Weiner, Lisa & Anthony, 4).

Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a synucleinopathy consisting of neuropathologic stages. The pathologic changes happen before the motor symptoms could appear. People who have Parkinson's tremble; their muscles end up very rigid. They tend to walk in a recognizable way whereby the body is flexed. They usually find it difficult to balance their bodies. These symptoms may not all emerge at the same time. Walking may worsen and one start walking slower, but it may not worsen for years. Maintaining the body balance is usually a major problem until the disease gets to more advanced stages. Tremor is the most obvious feature but does not apply to all patients. Patients may experience akinesia which is the lack of movement at all (Weiner, Lisa & Anthony, 4).
The symptoms can be summarized as:

  • Resting hand tremor. It can happen when an individual is walking, and the hand is on one side, or it is relaxed.
  • People may experience chin or lip tremor. It is a resting tremor that is seen when the patient is relaxed in a sitting position quietly and he/she is not talking or chewing.
  • Thumb tremor happens when the hand is resting on the lap.
  • The shaking of the legs which occurs when one is sited or is relaxed.
  • An individual tends to write smaller hand writing.
  • The arm swing reduces.
  • All movements slow down, and he/ she take longer to do simple tasks.
  • The feet may get stuck which is referred to as gait freezing.
  • The toes curl up or may turn up

Other symptoms may be; fatigue, sense of overall weakness, the stiffness of the limbs, mild imbalance, drooling or increase of saliva in the mouth, difficulties in doing things like; brushing teeth, turning over in bed buttoning buttons and using eating utensils. One may also have a stooped poster and challenges in rising from seated positions (Ahlskog, 33).

Pathological Stages of Parkinson’s disease

The degeneration of cells in Parkinson disease does not start or end within the sabstanta nigra. It appears to begin taking place within the olfactory structures and the dorsal nuclei of vagus nerve (Braak, Heiko & Tredici, 18) It proceeds on progressively to neocortex through the following stages

Stage 1

In this stage, the medulla oblongata and the olfactory globule injuries progress towards the dorsal core of the cranial nerve cells. There is transitional reticular arrangement taken after by olfactory bulb towards the anterior olfactory nuclei (McNamara, 22).

Stage 2

The pontine tegmentum pathology occurring in an arrangement is displayed here. There is a continuous injury of cells in the caudal raphe found in the giganto cellular reticular core together with coeruleus-subcoeruleus complex (McNamara, 22).

Stage 3

The midbrain pathology of the stage 2 happens here, in addition to the tear of the cells in the standards compacta of the sustantia nigra (McNamara, 22).

Stage 4

In this phase, there is the basal prosencephalon and mesocortex pathology of the third stage in addition to prosencephalic injuries, anteromedial transient mesocortex and allocortex which is denoted by (CA-2 plexus) (McNamara, 22).

Stage 5

This stage is encompasses the neocortex pathology of the fourth stage with the additional injuries found in the prefrontal cortex together with the physical links of neocortical zones (McNamara, 22).

Stage 6

Neocortex pathology of the fifth stage with the injuries in the underlying order of sensory cells of the cortex, the premotor cortex, the primary sensory and the motor cortex (McNamara, 22).

How Parkinson’s disease is diagnosed

Mostly, physicians diagnose it following the age of the patient, their historical and clinical manifestations. A diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease would involve elimination of possible causes like CVA stroke, drug toxicities, cerebral arteriosclerosis, any metabolic disorders and brain tumors. To support the diagnosis, levels of dopamine are low on a urinalysis test for the metabolites of dopamine (McNamara, 221).

Treatment of Parkinson’s disease

Most of the treatments administered are currently for relieving the symptoms of the disease. Therapies are administered to increase levels of dopamine and reduce the levels of acetylcholine. Organizations have come up to help the families of such patients to learn on how to manage the disease on its onset. Exercises are crucial together with aids that help in movement. At later stages, that is the time drugs can be administered where symptoms are more eminent if left untreated. Despite the side effects of the drugs, they have to be used with the right combination of medicines and the right dosage for the treatment is a complex one. Levodopa (L-DOPA) is the drug that is commonly used to treat Parkinson’s disease (McNamara, 32).

Works Cited

Ahlskog, J E. The New Parkinson's Disease Treatment Book: Partnering with Your Doctor to Get the Most from Your Medications. , 2015. Print.
Braak, Heiko, and Tredici K. Del. Neuroanatomy and Pathology of Sporadic Parkinson's Disease. Berlin: Springer Verlag, 2009. Print.
McNamara, Patrick. The Cognitive Neuropsychiatry Of Parkinson's Disease. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2011. Print.
Weiner,William J, Lisa M. Shulman, and Anthony E. Lang. Parkinson's Disease: A Complete Guide for Patients and Families. , 2013. Internet resource.

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