Parkinson’s disease is a progressive chronic illness of the central nervous system. It is distinguished by shaky or a tremor in hand movements. While Parkinsons mostly affects elderly people, it is not unlikely for a young person to have it, even if the person is under 20 years of age.
Parkinson’s disease inevitably leads to disability and reduces the patients’ life expectancy.
There is a difference between genetic and sporadic types of Parkinson’s disease. Genetic (hereditary) type accounts for 15% of all the cases. Its main cause is genetic predisposition. Genes that are responsible for the development of the genetic type of Parkinson’s disease have not yet been identified.
Etiology of the sporadic form remains unknown. Key risk factors are:
Here are some unlikely factors that reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease:
There are four classical symptoms linked to this illness. Their combination is an evidence of the probability of Parkinson’s disease.
Resting tremor is the most obvious symptoms manifested by shaking of limbs while resting. Tremor is rarely absent that can complicate diagnostics.
Parkinson’s disease may be observed in the certain cases like:
Muscle stiffness can be insignificant at the early stage of the illness. Doctor can identify different tension of different limbs during examination.
Hypomotility means slow movements, reduction of their frequency and amplitude. You might not notice the symptom at the onset of the illness, but it can be detected with the help of special tests, for instance the clenching and unclenching of the fists with maximum speed.
Violations of postural regulation are less specific for Parkinson’s disease compared to other symptoms, but are still common for the illness. Asymmetry of theoutstretched arms is the most obvious symptom.
Other symptoms are less common for this illness:
Depending on the clinical course and how strong the illness is manifested, Parkinson’s disease is divided into six stages (from 0 to 5). Movement disorders are in the background of the division.
Stage 0 means there are no movement disorders.
Stage 1 means there are movement disorders only on one side of the body.
Stage 2 means that movement disability occur on both sides of the body.
Stage 3 means there are postural violations and a patient requires third-party assistance.
Stage 4 means that a patient can move and stand up only with somebody’s help.
Stage 5 means a patient is bedridden.
Diagnosis can be confirmed during a clinical examination without visualization methods. But you have to differentiate Parkinson’s disease from Parkinsonism. Parkinsonism is a condition that has identical symptoms, but they are caused by other illnesses or external factors.
Thus, Parkinson’s disease diagnostics is held in 3 stages:
Diagnosis is established on the basis of two symptom groups. First group is hypomotility and the second is at least one of the signs given below like:
Additional criteria for Parkinson’s disease diagnostics are:
Parkinson’s disease is treated with conservative methods and by surgery. Medicines are prescribed that help to slow down the progression of the pathology and eliminate basic symptoms. Drug-free measures are also administered for treatment like massage, acupuncture, physiotherapy, exercise therapy and others.
Surgery can help to reach stable improvement of patient’s condition. The following operations are performed for the treatment of for Parkinson’s disease:
Thalamotomy is done to eliminate one-sided tremor. Ventral intermediate nucleus of the thalamus is destroyed in the course of surgery. Effectiveness of this kind of intervention in the best German and Swiss hospitals is 97%. Risk of the stable complications is 10-15% in average and basically depends on the surgeon’s proficiency and quality of the medical equipment.
The aim of pallidotomy is reduction or elimination of the movement disorder.A needle is inserted into the frontal part of the brain (globus pallidus). This intervention is considered to be among the safest surgeries. Stable or transient neurological violations are rare. Some German hospitals hold pallidotomy with the help of radiosurgery that helps to avoid tissue trauma and makes surgery even safer.
They stimulate some brain structures with electrical shock with neurostimulation procedure. Stimulation has to be constant, that’s why a neurostimulator is implanted into the patient’s body during surgery. Electrodes are placed into the brain. A device is placed under the collarbone. This is an expensive, but very effective surgery. It is desirable to have this kind of surgery at only the best hospital in Europe to minimize the risk of electrodes displacement and breakage of the device. Otherwise, you will have to repeat the surgery again.
New methods of treatment are always being advanced. They enable a considerable increase in the life quality of those who suffer from Parkinson’s disease. Following techniques are being developed for this purpose:
Parkinson’s disease leads to a disability and a reduced life span. Prognosis is negative as pathology is progressing regardless of the application of the latest treatment. Nevertheless, symptoms significantly differ among the patients that receive different types of treatment.
If the illness remains untreated, a patient loses his capacity to work within 8 years on average. Parkinson’s disease reaches the 5th stage within 10 years and then a patient is bedridden. Conservative therapy helps to slow down pathology progress and to postpone the disability moment by 1,5 – 2 times.
Latest treatment methods help to preserve patient’s life span and his capacity to work. Techniques are available in German hospitals and hospitals in other countries that have well-developed healthcare and medical tourism facilities.
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