Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that slowly deteriorates the ability of a person’s brain to control movement. It damages the nerve cells in your brain that create dopamine. The exact causes of PD are still unclear, but having a genetic predisposition, environmental and lifestyle factors, and age are all known to trigger it in some people.
Dr. Gurneet Sawhney, an eminent neurosurgeon in India, says that PD is most commonly found in older adults and affects as many as 10 million people worldwide. The symptoms of PD start to surface gradually and often take time to become apparent.
However, if you notice some of the following symptoms in yourself or someone you know, it is a good indication that they may have Parkinson’s:
Tremors are involuntary shaking or trembling movements that often start in your hand or knees. Some shaking is normal after a lot of exercise, climbing or trekking, when you are worried, or after you have been hurt, among other things. It can also be due to a medication you are taking.
However, shakiness or tremors when you are in a relaxed environment can be an early sign of the disease. The severity of this symptom can vary greatly, ranging from minor to intense. Most people with PD experience fluctuations in their body movements, making it harder for them to perform everyday tasks like dressing themselves, walking, and eating.
When you get older, your writing style may change if your fingers or hands are stiff and weak or if you have poor vision.
But if you notice that your handwriting has become very small, the letters you write look shrunken and crowded together; then it could be micrographia, a symptom of PD.
The highly experienced neurosurgeon Dr. Gurneet Sawhney says that over 65% of patients with PD have micrographia.
Anosmia Or Loss Of Smell
It is usual for your sense of smell to be affected by a common cold, stuffy nose, or flu, and get restored once you recover.
However, if you do not have any of these conditions but notice that you cannot smell certain foods as before, you should visit your doctor.
Everybody can have an occasional night tossing and turning and have trouble falling asleep. Sometimes, your body may even have quick jerks when you are in light sleep before progressing into a slumber.
Patients of PD often suffer from insomnia and experience an increased number of night awakenings. These sleep disturbances are caused by the brain’s inability to regulate sleep cycles.
If you or your loved one is constantly waking up during the night or taking more time to fall asleep than usual, this could be the first sign of PD.
You may have trouble moving a part of your body due to a cramp or injury, which goes away once you have healed. Or an illness like arthritis may cause stiffness.
An early sign of PD is stiffness and pain in your hips and shoulders. People have often described the feeling as having their feet stuck to the floor, making it difficult for them to lift their legs or take a step forward easily.
Constipation is common if you have a low fiber diet or do not drink enough water. Certain medications, especially pain killers, can also affect your bowel movements. If these are not factors you are currently dealing with and yet have trouble moving your bowels without straining every day, you should speak with your doctor.
Initial studies have revealed that the changes occurring in the brain cells of Parkinson’s patients may also happen in nerve cells in their intestinal wall and spinal cord. These changes may cause the muscles that propel food through the intestines to slow down.
A chest cold or sore throat can alter how you sound until you get better and your voice comes back to normal.
However, if you have begun to notice people asking you to repeat what you say, and it is a strain to raise your voice to speak, it could be an early sign of PD.
Dr. Gurneet Sawhney, a renowned neurosurgeon in Mumbai, says that various tests have revealed this is due to multiple abnormalities caused by PD, including glottis closure (tightening of the lower airway), causing difficulty in swallowing and speaking clearly.
A person going through a numb phase in life, like a loss of a loved one, or a person who has had extensive Botox treatments, may sometimes reflect an expressionless or masked face.
However, if you are not in a bad mood, and yet your face reflects a severe or rigid look, if your facial expressions are slow to change with your emotions, it can be a central nervous system disorder caused by PD.
Stooping or Hunching Posture
An injury or fatigue may compel you to have a hunching posture which will go away once you are back to your usual self.
However, if that is not the case, and you are constantly stooping your shoulders and not able to hold a straight back, that is due to muscle stiffness and rigidity caused by PD.
No individual one of these indicators should cause you to be too alarmed. However, if you notice more than one of them, please consult with Dr. Gurneet Sawhney, a proficient neurosurgeon in Mumbai, to discuss your concerns.
What is the treatment for Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s disease cannot be cured; however, certain drugs can improve the control of your symptoms, in some cases significantly. For example, Levodopa, an effective PD medication, is a natural chemical, and when it passes into your brain, it gets converted into dopamine.
Surgery may be recommended in some cases, particularly those more advanced. Dr. Gurneet Sawhney is one of the preferred neurosurgeons in Mumbai for DBS surgery (Deep Brain Stimulation).
DBS is a surgical procedure used to treat various neurological conditions, particularly the disabling motor symptoms of PD, which include tremors, slower movement, stiffness, and difficulties walking.
Being a person with Parkinson’s disease (PD) can be a challenging experience. Your doctor may advise you to make some lifestyle changes, such as engaging in regular aerobic activity. A physical therapy regimen that focuses on posture, balance, and flexibility may also benefit some circumstances. A speech therapist may be able to assist you in improving your speech difficulties.
Among persons with Parkinson’s disease, constipation and digestive difficulties are quite prevalent symptoms. They can be induced by the disease itself and medications used to treat it. However, the good news is that you have the ability to make a difference.
Having consistently demonstrated his capacity to do result-oriented surgery for devastating brain illnesses, Dr. Sawhney is widely considered one of the best neurosurgeons in Mumbai today.