Parkinson’s Disease

A progressive neurological disease that provokes movement problems is called Parkinson’s disease. Dopamine is a chemical substance in the brain that makes coordinated and smooth movements possible. If you experience this condition, the part of the brain that produces Dopamine begins to die. As a result, Dopamine levels decrease and symptoms of this condition begin to happen when they drop from 60% to 80%.


The following symptoms can appear several years before a person experiences movement issues. Examples include:

  • Anosmia (reduced ability to smell)
  • Voice changes
  • Stopped posture
  • Small and cramped handwriting
  • Constipation

Check below the major motor problems that occur in people with Parkinson’s disease:

  • Stiffness of arms, legs, and trunk
  • Slow movements
  • Tremors (shaking)
  • Balance problems and tendency to fall

Additionally, in people with this disease, some secondary symptoms can appear. Examples include:

  • Tendency to get stuck when walking
  • Blank facial expression
  • Decreased arm swinging when walking
  • Low-volume speech
  • Tendency to fall backward
  • Reduced swallowing and blinking
  • Tendency to take shuffling steps while walking also known as Parkinsonian gait

In some cases, people who suffer from this disease can experience other symptoms. Check some examples below:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Psychosis
  • Attention and memory problems
  • Difficulty with visual-spatial relationships
  • Hallucinations
  • Sleeping problems (including vivid dreams)
  • Increased risk of melanoma (a serious skin cancer type)
  • Seborrheic dermatitis

If you experience early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, it means that your body try to alert you about a movement disorder that could start.


Nowadays, the exact cause of this health condition is not known. However, both genetics and environmental factors can contribute to or even cause Parkinson’s disease. Decreased levels of Norepinephrine and Dopamine are often associated with this disease. A substance that helps to regulate Dopamine levels is called Norepinephrine.

Additionally, certain abnormal proteins (Lewy bodies) are also found in people with Parkinson’s disease. Experts do not understand what role Lewy bodies play in Parkinson’s disease development.

While the exact cause of this medical condition is not known, healthcare professionals determined who is at higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Examples include:

  • Race – As per studies, white people are more likely to develop this condition than black or Asian people.
  • Sex – Men and people assigned to males at birth (AMAB) are more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease (about 1.5 times) than women and people assigned to females at birth (AFAB).
  • Age – Mostly, the condition occurs between 50 and 60 years old. However, people can experience this disease before 40 years old but these occur in 4% of cases only.
  • Family history – If you have a family history of Parkinson’s disease, you are more likely to develop it.
  • Toxins – Experts consider that long-term exposure to toxins can also elevate your risk of this disease.
  • Head Injuries – An increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease appears in people who experience head injuries or traumas.


Commonly, the Parkinson’s disease symptoms worsen over time. Healthcare professionals use the Hoehn and Yahr scale to categorize its stages. Thus, this scale classifies the symptoms into 5 stages.

Stage 1

The symptoms that people experience during this stage do not interact with their daily life and tasks. In any case, if you experience symptoms, they are mild and in one side of the body only.

Stage 2

Commonly, the progression from the first stage to the second can take months to years. Check below certain symptoms that can appear:

  • Trembling
  • Tremors
  • Facial expression changes
  • Muscle stiffness

You may experience problems with daily tasks due to muscle stiffness. However, you will not have balance problems during this stage.

Stage 3

This is a middle stage of Parkinson’s and the symptoms are more noticeable. It means that they will interact with your daily life and tasks. The symptoms include slower movements, balance problems, and an increased risk of falls. In most cases, people with this stage of Parkinson’s disease can maintain independence.

Stage 4

At this point, people experience more serious symptoms including standing problems. They also notice a significant slow in reactions and muscle movements.

Stage 5

This is the end-stage of Parkinson’s disease and those who experience it will notice severe symptoms and inability to make something without assistance. Additionally, several symptoms may occur in people with this stage. For example delusions, hallucinations, and others. Mostly, complications occur in people with this Parkinson’s stage.

Parkinson’s Dementia

This is one of the Parkinson’s complications. In such cases, people experience difficulty thinking and problem-solving. Furthermore, Parkinson’s dementia is considered a common complication because it happens in about 50%-80% of people.

Check below some symptoms of this Parkinson’s complication:

  • Slurred speech
  • Mood swings
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Delusion
  • Sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Depression
  • Changes in appetite
  • Energy level changes


Mostly, the treatment for Parkinson’s disease includes therapies, lifestyle changes, and medications. In addition, a balanced diet, exercise, and rest are very important in the treatment of this condition. However, doctors may also prescribe you speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy to improve your self-care and communication.

Check below some medicines used in the Parkinson’s treatment:

  • Levodopa – This is one of the most common drugs used to treat symptoms of this disease. Approximately 75% of cases respond to this medicine. Commonly, this medicine is used in combination with Carbidopa which helps to increase the availability of the first medicine in the blood-brain barrier.
  • Dopamine Agonists – These medicines work as Dopamine in the brain. As a result, they can improve Parkinson’s symptoms. Physicians usually prescribe Bromocriptine, Pramipexole, and Ropinirole.
  • Anticholinergics – These medications help with rigidity. They work by blocking the parasympathetic nervous system. For example Benztropine, Trihexyphenidyl, and others.
  • Amantadine – This is a glutamate-blocking drug (NMDA) that helps to decrease involuntary movements (dyskinesia), which is commonly a Levodopa adverse reaction.
  • COMT Inhibitors – Entacapone and Tolcapone are examples of COMT inhibitors and they are used to prolong the Levodopa effect. However, Tolcapone can cause liver damage and it is prescribed by doctors when other medicines are not effective for you.
  • MAO-B Inhibitors – Selegiline and Rasagiline are MAO-B inhibitors usually prescribed by doctors. Do not use these drugs without a doctor’s recommendation because they can interact with other medicines including antidepressants, Ciprofloxacin, St. John’s wort, certain narcotics, and others.

Unfortunately, Parkinson’s medicines effectiveness can decrease over time. As a result, adverse reactions may outweigh the benefits. Consult with your doctor for more details.


This procedure is used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease when the patient does not respond to drugs, therapies, and lifestyle changes. Check below the main surgery types used in Parkinson’s treatment:

  • Deep Brain Stimulation – During this procedure, doctors will implant electrodes in certain parts of the brain. Thereafter, these electrodes help to send out pulses, which lessen the symptoms.
  • Pump-delivered Therapy – This procedure is also known as Duopa and it was approved by FDA in 2015. This pump is placed near the small intestine by surgery. As a result, it helps to reduce the symptoms by delivering Levodopa and Carbidopa.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Parkinson’s disease be cured?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease but with treatment, you can lessen the symptoms. Approximately 50,000 new cases of Parkinson’s appear in the U.S. However, this number can even be higher because this disease in most cases is misdiagnosed.

What is life expectancy for people with Parkinson’s?

Commonly, there is no difference in life expectancy between people with Parkinson’s disease and those who do not have this condition.

What are the factors that could worsen Parkinson’s disease?

The following factors can worsen this condition. Examples include physical inactivity, poor diet, dehydration, and stress. In case you have any other questions, ask your healthcare provider.

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