Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease
Currently, no treatment is available to cure Parkinson’s disease. Many therapies and treatment plans are available to postpone the emergence of motor symptoms of the disease and to improve the motor symptoms as well. These therapies target to increase the availability of dopamine in the brain . This can be achieved by replacing dopamine, imitating the action of dopamine, or prolonging the effect of the available dopamine by blocking its break down in the brain. Studies have proved that the quality of life of a Parkinson’s disease sufferer can be prolonged by administering therapy in its early stages in the non motor phase.
There are effective drugs used in the treatment for Parkinson’s disease which converts itself to dopamine in the brain. As usage of this drug for a long period of time can lead to side effects, such as painful cramps and involuntary movement, it is given at a later stage where motor impairment is quite severe.
In early stages of the disease, dopamine agonists and MAO-B inhibitors are given to the patient. Dopamine agonists imitate the action of dopamine and MAO-B inhibitors act to reduce dopamine break down. These are said to be very effective in relieving motor symptoms. Side effects may take the form of swelling caused by accumulation of fluid in body tissue, sleepiness, dizziness, constipation, hallucinations and nausea.
For severe motor symptoms that cannot be managed, surgery may be performed. Deep brain stimulation or DBS is a surgical procedure which stimulate specific areas of the brain which seems to block signals causing motor symptoms. It involves placing a small electrode in the brain and attaching the electrode to a pulse generator.
Parkinson’s disease researchers are currently researching with stem cells to produce specific cell types like dopamine producing cells which can be used to treat the disease. While this approach is promising, more research is required before it can have any therapeutic value.
General lifestyle changes including rest and exercise, physical therapy , occupational therapy, speech therapy and so on, work towards making the patient feel better. Thus, in addition to medications and surgery this too may be beneficial to the patient.
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