Parkinson’s Disease, or PD, is most common amongst the elderly. In most cases, Parkinson’s cannot be predicted or prevented. The disease is a movement disorder characterised by the loss of or slow physical movement, trembling of the arms, hands, legs, jaw or head, stiffness of the limbs and impaired balance.
The non-motor aspect of PD
Apart from the physical symptoms, patients suffering from PD also show signs of mood disturbances. As much as 90% of PD patients suffer from anxiety that consequently leads to depression, abulia or apathy. Parkinson’s sufferers have noted experiencing sleep disturbances causing excessive daytime drowsiness or insomnia.
Cognitive disturbances include dementia in almost 40% of Parkinson’s sufferers. They suffer from short term memory loss, lack of impulse control, prioritising and evaluating the clarity of surrounding situations, varying time awareness and lack of social consciousness. These symptoms of the physical and emotional seem to worsen over time.
In some cases, as the condition worsens, symptoms such as lack of facial expression, speech impediments, difficulty in swallowing, constipation, bladder problems, sweating, sexual difficulties and alterations in their sense of smell.
Disease vs. Syndrome
Although Parkinson’s is referred to as a disease, its definite cause has not been specified. Common causes that have been indicated as being responsible for causing Parkinson’s Disease include genetics, toxins, cerebral anoxia, head trauma and drug related issues. Despite these causes, an ailment qualifies as a disease because of a collection of signs and symptoms which emerge together. In order to qualify as a disease, the problem would have to have a root cause incorporating that a single cure should work in every Parkinson’s case.
As such drugs have only been able to improve the symptoms, but have not been able to cure the disease. Some even suggest delaying treatments as the effectiveness of the drug has a restricted lifetime. The main treatment for Parkinson’s Disease has been drugs that include: Propranolol, Primidone, Anticholinergics, Selegiline, Amantadine, Levodopa, COMT inhibitors and Dopamine agonists. Levodopa is the main agent used to treat Parkinson’s and is combined with carbidopa when given in a pill form.
Surgery has also been used in cases where the medication is no longer having any effect in controlling the symptoms. Alternatively, deep brain stimulation is applied. It works similarly to a pacemaker and is implanted in the chest with wires that penetrate deep into the part of the brain that controls motor function, where electrical impulses are sent. So far this has been the dominant treatment with severe cases where medication is no longer effective.
Alternative medicine and Parkinson’s Disease
Alternative medicine and treatments have been incorporated into treatment of the symptoms of Parkinson’s. Exercises such as Pilates, tai chi and yoga help increase body flexibility, enhancing balance and coordination. The muscles of the spine are elongated, strengthened and stabilised through the stretching movements specific to Pilates. This increases blood circulation and balance and improves posture.
Nutrients and herbs are also prescribed in a patient’s diet, but this is to be used solely in conjunction with other treatments. Homeopathy is used for symptoms and can alleviate the trembling, painless paralysis, restless legs, anxiety, depression, arteriosclerosis and general restlessness. Massages help with circulation and to decrease muscle spasms, while acupuncture helps with tremors.
Manual Nerve Release technique, or MNR, has been showing great benefits for Parkinson’s sufferers. Although still categorized as an alternative healing technique, Parkinson’s Disease patients have experienced many benefits due to the treatment. Because MNR is also a somatic healing technique, both the physical and mental aspect of Parkinson’s is treated.
With all this considered, it does show that there is hope for those suffering with Parkinson’s, whether a disease or syndrome. You no longer have to suffer the symptoms and agony of this disease like before.