Living with Parkinson’s disease
A patient and caregiver education leaflet from PDMD clinic of NIMHANS, Bangalore
1. What is Parkinson’sdisease?
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative illness of brain which is more common in elderly population but may also effect young. The diagnosis is made by a set of symptoms by a physician after clinical assessment.
2. What is the cause of Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s disease is caused by selective damage to the domanergic cells leading to a state of dopamine deficiency in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical compound which is essential for body movement and is present in the dopaminergic pathways of brain.
3. What are the symptoms in Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a condition with symptoms of slowness, tremors and rigidity of the body which may be accompanied by postural instability. Advanced Parkinson’s disease may have other involuntary movements like dyskinesia (dance like movements) and dystonia (twisting movement in the body). These are the motor symptoms.
4. What are the non-motor symptoms of PD?
Depression, anxiety, sleep abnormalities, psychotic symptoms and urinary symptoms, constipation and memory disturbances are part of the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
5. What are the treatment options in Parkinson’s disease?
The medical management of PD involves the medicines which increase the dopamine levels in the brain and those which augment the dopamine action. With the rapid research in the evolution of the drugs new medicines are regularly being added in the list available to treat PD.
6. What is the role of surgery in Parkinson’s disease?
Current evidence for treatment of PD shows clearly the benefit of Deep brain stimulation surgery and lesioning surgery in the treatment of advanced Parkinson’s disease.
7. What is the role of exercise in PD?
Exercise has shown clear benefit in managing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Exercise helps in reducing stiffness, gait freezing and improving the posture.
8. What are the complications in advanced PD?
In advanced PD the patient may develop memory problems, constipation, levodopa induced dyskinesia, drooling, falls and sleep abnormalities.
9. What is the role of diet in PD?
Healthy diet which includes green vegetables, fresh colored fruits, and adequate drinking water along with exercise is very useful in managing constipation and maintaining good health of skin and bone with immunity to infections.
10. What is the prognosis of Parkinson’s disease?
If the patient takes the medications regularly as advised by the health care providers, follows the advice with regular exercise and good diet the expected life is only slightly reduced as compared to general population.