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Parkinson’s disease is a chronic degenerative disorder that affects the nerve cells of the central nervous system. It essentially affects the nerves that control the motor system of the body. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disease, that starts with mild symptoms, then progresses to more severe symptoms. Some of the early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are difficulty with walking, due to muscle rigidity, trembling and so on. Other symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease are depression, emotional instability, and abnormal sleep cycle. These symptoms tend to change over time. The cause is still unknown, however, researchers believe it’s a combination of both genetic and some environmental factors. Other factors that increase the risk of having this disease are previous injuries to the head, which is common to boxers. An example of a boxer that had Parkinson’s disease was the great Mohammed Ali. He battled with the disease for the latter part of his life.
The main symptoms associated with the motor system include body trembling, muscle stiffness, postural imbalance and reduced pace of movement. The earliest and commonest sign is that the hand of the individual undergoes tremor, especially when at rest, and stops whenever the patient moves voluntarily. This hand tremor usually starts with one hand but might progress to the two hands, much later.
Other symptoms associated with the motor system disorder include abnormal gait, bad handwriting due to hand tremor, and slurred speech
Parkinson’s disease affects the brain function, which includes the way people behave, their mood, how they process their thoughts and cognition.
The cognitive problems happen most times in the initial stage of the disease. Examples of the problems are the inability to think straight, lack of flexibility in thinking and so on. Also, persons affected with the disease have memory problems such as dementia. However, this is more predominant among older people that have the disease. In addition to this, persons suffering from the disease do have some mood alterations, such as depression and anxiety. More of half of the recorded cases have also shown signs of hallucinations and paranoia.
Other symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease are insomnia and drowsiness. Some patients have also been reported to act out of their dreams. They sometimes go as far as physically hurting whomever they are sharing their bed with. This usually occurs before signs and symptoms of the motor system disorder.
The cause of Parkinson’s disease is still unknown, however, researchers believe it’s largely caused by a combination of both genetic and some environmental factors
Genetic factors: It is believed that Parkinson’s disease is caused by an interplay of both genetics and environmental factors. According to statistics, about fifteen percent of persons that has this disease usually do have a relative that has suffered from the disease or still suffering from the disease. It has been suggested that those that do not have a relative suffering from the disease, might have undergone some sort of mutation. In addition to this, studies have shown that Parkinson’s disease may be as a result of some lysosomal dysfunction.
Parkinson’s disease does not have a cure, however, the symptoms can be managed. This is because brain cells are not capable of regeneration. Below are some of the management procedures for the disease
Stem cells are cells that have the ability to regenerate, repair and control the immune system. When introduced into the body, they migrate towards the damaged part of the brain, to repair or replace the damaged cells and brain tissues. It has been proven that mesenchymal stem cells can differentiate into nerve cells. A lot of successes have been recorded in the treatment of Parkinson’s using the stem cell therapy.
This material was created specially for WorldHealthNews project by David Greeley.
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