Parkinson‘s Disease: Symptoms, Treatment, and More

Parkinson’s illness is a progressive neurological disorder. The first indications are issues with movement. Smooth and coordinated bodily muscle movements are enabled by dopamine, a substance in the brain. Dopamine is produced in a part of the brain called the “substantia nigra.” In Parkinson’s, the cells of the substantia nigra start to die. When this occurs, dopamine levels are decreased. When they have dropped 60 to 80 percent, symptoms of Parkinson’s start to appear.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

Some of the early signs of Parkinson’s can start a number of years before motor problems establish. These earliest indications include:

  • decreased ability to smell (anosmia).
  • constipation.
  • small, cramped handwriting.
  • voice changes.
  • stooped posture.

The 4 major motor issues seen are:

  • tremor (shaking that occurs at rest).
  • sluggish movements.
  • stiffness of arms, legs, and trunk.
  • problems with balance and tendency to fall.

Secondary symptoms include:

  • blank facial expression.
  • a tendency to get stuck when walking.
  • muffled, low-volume speech.
  • decreased blinking and swallowing.
  • tendency to fall backward.
  • reduced arm swinging when walking.
  • Parkinsonian gait, which is the tendency to take shuffling steps while walking.

Other associated symptoms may include:

  • flaky white or yellow scales on oily parts of the skin, known as seborrheic dermatitis.
  • increased threat of cancer malignancy, a severe type of skin cancer.
  • sleep disturbances including vivid dreams, talking, and movement during sleep.
  • depression.
  • anxiety.
  • hallucinations.
  • psychosis.
  • problems with attention and memory.
  • difficulty with visual-spatial relationships.

Early indications of Parkinson’s illness may go unrecognized. Your body may try to inform you to the movement disorder many years prior to movement problems start with these warning signs.

Causes of Parkinson’s Disease

The specific cause of Parkinson’s is unknown. It may have both genetic and ecological components. Some researchers believe that viruses can set off Parkinson’s too.

Low levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, a substance that regulates dopamine, have actually been related to Parkinson’s.

Irregular proteins called Lewy bodies have likewise been discovered in the brains of individuals with Parkinson’s. Researchers do not know what role, if any, Lewy bodies play in the advancement of Parkinson’s.

While there’s no recognized cause, research study has determined groups of people who are most likely to establish the condition, which include:

  • Sex. Men are one and a half times most likely to establish Parkinson’s than women.
  • Race. According to research study, there’s a higher prevalence of Parkinson’s in white people compared with Black or Asian people. Geographical location may be one factor for a higher threat.
  • Age. Parkinson’s generally appears in between ages 50 and 60 years. It just occurs before 40 years old in about four percent of cases.
  • Family history. Individuals who have close member of the family with Parkinson’s disease are most likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.
  • Toxins. Direct exposure to specific contaminants may increase the risk of Parkinson’s illness.
  • Head injury. Individuals who experience head injuries may be more likely to establish Parkinson’s disease.

Treatments for Parkinson’s Disease

Treatment for Parkinson’s counts on a combination of:

  • lifestyle changes.
  • medications.
  • therapies.

Sufficient rest, exercise, and a well balanced diet are important. Speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy can likewise assist improve communication and self-care.

In almost all cases, medication will be needed to help manage the numerous physical and psychological health signs connected with the disease.

Drugs and Medication Used to Treat Parkinson’s Illness

A number of different drugs can be utilized to treat Parkinson’s.


Levodopa is the most common treatment for Parkinson’s. It assists to replenish dopamine.

About 75 percent of cases react to levodopa, however not all signs are improved. Levodopa is normally given with carbidopa.

Carbidopa delays the breakdown of levodopa which in turn increases the schedule of levodopa at the blood-brain barrier.

Dopamine Agonists

Dopamine agonists can imitate the action of dopamine in the brain. They’re less reliable than levodopa, however they can be beneficial as bridge medications when levodopa is less efficient.

Drugs in this class include bromocriptine, pramipexole, and ropinirole.


Anticholinergics are utilized to obstruct the parasympathetic nervous system. They can aid with rigidity.

Benztropine (Cogentin) and trihexyphenidyl are anticholinergics used to treat Parkinson’s.

Amantadine (Symmetrel)

Amantadine (Symmetrel) can be utilized along with carbidopa-levodopa. It’s a glutamate-blocking drug (NMDA). It provides short-term relief for the involuntary movements (dyskinesia) that can be an adverse effects of levodopa.

COMT Inhibitors

Catechol O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors extend the impact of levodopa. Entacapone (Comtan) and tolcapone (Tasmar) are examples of COMT inhibitors.

Tolcapone can trigger liver damage. It’s generally saved for people who do not respond to other therapies.

Ectacapone does not trigger liver damage.

Stalevo is a drug that combines ectacapone and carbidopa-levodopa in one pill.

MAO-B Inhibitors

MAO-B inhibitors inhibit the enzyme monoamine oxidase B. This enzyme breaks down dopamine in the brain. Selegiline (Eldepryl) and rasagiline (Azilect) are examples of MAO-B inhibitors.

Talk with your doctor before taking any other medications with MAO-B inhibitors. They can communicate with numerous drugs, including:

  • antidepressants.
  • ciprofloxacin.
  • St. John’s wort.
  • some narcotics.

Gradually, the effectiveness of Parkinson’s medications can reduce. By late-stage Parkinson’s, the adverse effects of some medications might outweigh the benefits. However, they might still supply adequate management of signs.

Parkinson’s Surgery

Surgical interventions are scheduled for individuals who do not react to medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes.

Two main types of surgery are utilized to treat Parkinson’s:

Deep Brain Stimulation

During deep brain stimulation (DBS), surgeons implant electrodes in specific parts of the brain. A generator linked to the electrodes sends out pulses to help in reducing signs.

Pump-delivered Therapy

In January 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a pump-delivered therapy called Duopa.

The pump delivers a combination of levodopa and carbidopa. In order to utilize the pump, your doctor will need to carry out a surgical procedure to place the pump near the small intestine.

Diagnosing Parkinson’s Disease

There’s no specific test for diagnosing Parkinson’s. Diagnosis is made based upon health history, a physical and neurological test, along with an evaluation of symptoms and signs.

Imaging tests, such as a CAT scan or MRI, may be used to rule out other conditions. A dopamine transporter (DAT) scan may likewise be utilized. While these tests do not confirm Parkinson’s, they can help eliminate other conditions and support the doctor’s diagnosis.

Parkinson’s Disease Stages

Parkinson’s is a progressive illness, which indicates symptoms of the condition normally intensify in time.

Many doctors utilize the Hoehn and Yahr scale to categorize its stages. This scale divides signs into 5 stages, and it assists health care specialists find out how innovative illness signs and symptoms are.

Stage 1

Stage 1 Parkinson’s is the mildest form. It’s so moderate, in fact, you may not experience signs that are visible. They might not yet interfere with your every day life and tasks.

If you do have signs, they might be isolated to one side of your body.

Stage 2

The development from stage 1 to stage 2 can take months or perhaps years. Each person’s experience will be various.

At this moderate stage, you may experience symptoms such as:

  • muscle stiffness.
  • tremors.
  • changes in facial expressions.
  • trembling.

Muscle stiffness can complicate everyday tasks, lengthening how long it takes you to finish them. Nevertheless, at this stage, you’re unlikely to experience balance problems.

Signs might appear on both sides of the body. Changes in posture, gait, and facial expressions might be more obvious.

Stage 3

At this middle stage, symptoms reach a turning point. While you’re not likely to experience new signs, they might be more visible. They might likewise interfere with all of your daily tasks.

Movements are noticeably slower, which decreases activities. Balance issues become more substantial, too, so falls are more common. However people with stage 3 Parkinson’s can generally keep their independence and complete activities without much assistance.

Stage 4

The development from stage 3 to stage 4 brings about substantial changes. At this moment, you will experience excellent difficulty standing without a walker or assistive gadget.

Reactions and muscle movements likewise sluggish significantly. Living alone can be unsafe, potentially dangerous.

Stage 5

In this most innovative stage, serious symptoms make around-the-clock support a necessity. It will be hard to stand, if not impossible. A wheelchair will likely be needed.

Also, at this stage, individuals with Parkinson’s might experience confusion, delusions, and hallucinations. These issues of the illness can begin in the later stages.

Parkinson’s Dementia

Parkinson’s dementia is a problem of Parkinson’s disease. It triggers individuals to establish troubles with reasoning, thinking, and problem fixing. It’s rather typical– 50 to 80 percent of individuals with Parkinson’s will experience some degree of dementia.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s illness dementia include:

  • depression.
  • sleep disturbances.
  • delusions.
  • confusion.
  • hallucinations.
  • mood swings.
  • slurred speech.
  • changes in appetite.
  • changes in energy level.

Parkinson’s illness destroys chemical-receiving cells in the brain. In time, this can cause remarkable changes, symptoms, and complications.

Specific individuals are more likely to develop Parkinson’s illness dementia. Threat factors for the condition include:

  • Sex. Men are most likely to establish it.
  • Age. The threat increases as you get older.
  • Existing cognitive impairment. If you had memory and mood issues before a Parkinson’s diagnosis, your threat might be higher for dementia.
  • Severe Parkinson’s symptoms. You may be more at risk for Parkinson’s disease dementia if you have serious motor impairment, such as stiff muscles and difficulty walking.

Currently, there’s no treatment for Parkinson’s disease dementia. Rather, a doctor will concentrate on dealing with other signs.

Sometimes medications used for other kinds of dementia can be practical. Discover more about symptoms and signs of this kind of dementia and how it can be diagnosed.

This is the most typical Parkinson’s illness stage system, but alternative staging systems for Parkinson’s are sometimes used.

Parkinson’s Heredity

Scientists believe both your genes and the environment might contribute in whether you get Parkinson’s. How much of an impact they have, nevertheless, is unknown. Many cases take place in people without any apparent family history of the illness.

Hereditary cases of Parkinson’s are uncommon. It’s unusual for moms and dads to pass Parkinson’s to a kid.

According to the National Institutes of Health, only 15 percent of individuals with Parkinson’s have a family history of the illness. See what other hereditary elements may influence your risk for developing Parkinson’s.

Is There a Cure for Parkinson’s?

There’s presently no cure for Parkinson’s, an illness that is chronic and worsens in time. More than 50,000 new cases are reported in the United States each year. However there may be much more, because Parkinson’s is often misdiagnosed.

It’s reported that Parkinson’s complications was the 14th major cause of death in the United States in 2016.

Parkinson’s Prognosis

Problems from Parkinson’s can considerably reduce quality of life and prognosis. For example, people with Parkinson’s can experience dangerous falls, as well as blood clots in the lungs and legs. These complications can be fatal.

Proper treatment improves your prognosis, and it increases life expectancy.

It might not be possible to slow the progression of Parkinson’s, but you can work to overcome the barriers and problems to have a better quality of life for as long as possible.

Parkinson’s Life Expectancy

Parkinson’s disease is not fatal. Nevertheless, Parkinson’s- related complications can reduce the life-span of people diagnosed with the illness.

Having Parkinson’s increases an individual’s threat for potentially harmful issues, like experiencing:

  • falls.
  • blood clots.
  • lung infections.
  • blockages in the lungs.

These problems can trigger severe health issues. They can even be deadly.

It’s unclear how much Parkinson’s minimizes a person’s life expectancy. One study took a look at the 6-year survival rates of almost 140,000 people who had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. In that 6-year span 64 percent of individuals with Parkinson’s died.

What’s more, the study discovered that 70 percent of people in the research study had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s illness dementia during the span of the research study. Those who were diagnosed with the memory disorder had lower survival rates.

Parkinson’s Exercises

Parkinson’s frequently causes issues with everyday activities. But extremely easy exercises and stretches might help you move and walk more safely.

To Improve Walking

  • Walk carefully.
  • Rate yourself– try not to move too rapidly.
  • Let your heel hit the floor initially.
  • Check your posture and stand up straight. This will help you shuffle less.

To Avoid Falling

  • Do not walk backward.
  • Try to not carry things while walking.
  • Try to avoid leaning and reaching.
  • To reverse, make a U-turn. Do not pivot on your feet.
  • Get rid of all tripping hazards in your house such as loose rugs.

When Getting Dressed

  • Enable yourself a lot of time to get ready. Prevent rushing.
  • Select clothes that are easy to place on and remove.
  • Try utilizing items with Velcro instead of buttons.
  • Try wearing pants and skirts with elastic waist bands. These may be easier than buttons and zippers.

Yoga utilizes targeted muscle movement to construct muscle, boost mobility, and enhance flexibility. People with Parkinson’s might see yoga even helps manage tremors in some impacted limbs. Try these 10 yoga poses to help ease signs of Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s Diet

For individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s, diet can play an essential role in every day life. While it will not treat or prevent development, a healthy diet might have some significant effect.

Parkinson’s is the outcome of decreased dopamine levels in the brain. You may be able to increase levels of the hormone naturally with food.

Also, a nutrient-rich, balanced diet that concentrates on particular nutrients might be able to help reduce some signs and prevent development of the disease. These foods include:


Foods high in these substances may assist avoid oxidative stress and damage to the brain. Antioxidant-rich foods include nuts, berries, and nightshade vegetables.

Fava Beans

These lime green beans include levodopa, the exact same active ingredient utilized in some Parkinson’s medications.


These heart- and brain-healthy fats in salmon, oyster, flaxseed, and some beans might help protect your brain from damage.

In addition to eating more of these useful foods, you might wish to avoid dairy and saturated fat. These food groups might increase your threat for Parkinson’s or accelerate progression.

Parkinson’s and Dopamine

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder. It affects the dopamine-producing neurons (dopaminergic) in the brain. Dopamine is a brain chemical and neurotransmitter. It assists send electrical signals around the brain and through the body.

The illness prevents these cells from making dopamine, and it might impair how well the brain can use dopamine. Gradually, the cells will die completely. The drop in dopamine is frequently progressive. That’s why symptoms progress, or slowly become worse.

Many Parkinson’s medications are dopaminergic drugs. They aim to increase the level of dopamine or make it more reliable on the brain.

Parkinson’s vs. MS

In the beginning look, Parkinson’s disease and several sclerosis (MS) might appear really similar. They both affect the main nervous system, and they can produce numerous similar signs.

These include:

  • tremors.
  • slurred speech.
  • poor balance and instability.
  • changes in movement and gait.
  • muscle weakness or loss of muscle coordination.

The two conditions are very various, nevertheless. The crucial differences include:


MS is an autoimmune condition. Parkinson’s is the outcome of reduced dopamine levels in the brain.


MS primarily affects more youthful people, with the average age of diagnosis being between ages 20 and 50 years old. Parkinson’s is more typical in people over 60 years old.


People with MS experience conditions like headaches, hearing loss, pain, and double vision. Parkinson’s can ultimately trigger muscle rigidity and trouble walking, poor posture, loss of muscle control, hallucinations, and dementia.

If you’re revealing uncommon signs, your doctor may consider both of these conditions when making a diagnosis. Imaging tests and blood tests might be used to assist distinguish between the two conditions.

Parkinson’s Prevention

Doctors and researchers do not comprehend what triggers Parkinson’s. They’re also not exactly sure why it progresses in a different way in everyone. That’s why it’s unclear concerning how to prevent the disease.

Each year, researchers investigate why Parkinson’s occurs and what can be done to prevent it. Recent research study suggests lifestyle aspects — like physical exercise and a diet abundant in antioxidants — may have a protective result.

If you have a family history of Parkinson’s, you may think about genetic testing. Specific genes have actually been linked to Parkinson’s. But it’s important to know that having these gene mutations does not mean you’ll absolutely develop the disease.

Talk with your doctor about the threats and benefits of hereditary testing.


Professionals are still uncertain what causes Parkinson’s. It is a lifelong condition that can be managed with lifestyle changes and medical treatments. Talk with your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of Parkinson’s or if you have been diagnosed and are looking for new ways to manage the condition.

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