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Are you living with Parkinson’s disease? Choosing the best way to manage this debilitating illness can be very difficult. In a world full of treatments and medications, it’s important to know as much as you can about your condition and its associated symptoms, so you can live your best life possible. 

Causes

Although there are several known risk factors for Parkinson’s disease, such as pesticide exposure, the only confirmed causes of Parkinson’s disease at this time are genetic. 

Many conditions resemble Parkinson’s disease but are actually parkinsonism (Parkinson’s disease-like conditions) caused by a specific cause, such as some psychiatric medications. 

Parkinson’s disease can be inherited, which means you can get it from one or both of your parents. However, this accounts for only about 10% of all cases. 

Idiopathic Parkinson’s disease, according to experts, is caused by issues with how your body uses a protein called -synuclein (alpha sy-nu-clee-in). Proteins are chemical molecules with a distinct shape. When some proteins do not have the proper shape — a condition known as protein misfolding — your body cannot use or break them down. (Source)

Symptoms

Loss of muscle control is one of disease’s most well-known symptoms. Experts now believe that muscle control issues aren’t the only possible symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

  • Slower motions (bradykinesia)
  • There is a tremor.
  • stiffness or rigidity
  • Unstable posture or gait while walking
  • Blinking less frequently than usual
  • Handwriting that is squished or small
  • Facial expression resembling a mask
  • Having difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Exceptionally soft speaking voice (hypophonia). (Source)
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Diagnosis

Various imaging and diagnostic tests are available when healthcare providers suspect Parkinson’s disease or need to rule out other conditions. These are some examples:

  • Examinations of the blood (these can help rule out other forms of parkinsonism).
  • CT scan stands for computed tomography.
  • Genetic analysis.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (MRI).
  • PET (positron emission tomography) scan

Researchers have discovered potential tests for Parkinson’s disease indicators. Both of these new tests involve the alpha-synuclein protein but do so in novel ways.

Also Read: Complete Guide on Dopamine Hormone: Meaning, Function, Role and Tips to Regulate

Spinal tap

A spinal tap (lumbar puncture) is used in this test, in which a healthcare provider inserts a needle into your spinal canal to collect cerebrospinal fluid for testing.

Skin biopsy

A biopsy involves taking a small sample of your skin, including the nerves. The samples are taken from your back and two spots on your leg. The samples can be analysed to see if your alpha-synuclein has a specific type of malfunction that could increase your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. (Source)

Treatments

It is currently incurable, but there are numerous ways to manage its symptoms. Treatments can also differ from person to person, depending on their specific symptoms and the effectiveness of certain treatments. The primary treatment for this condition is medication.

A secondary treatment option is to have a device implanted in your brain that delivers a mild electrical current (this is known as deep brain stimulation). 

Other potential treatments for disease are being investigated by researchers. While these aren’t widely available, they give people with this condition hope. Among the experimental treatment approaches are

  • Stem cell transplants
  • Neuron-repair treatments
  • Gene therapies and gene-targeted treatments. (Source)

Diet

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While there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and protein-rich foods can help. Consider adding nuts, olive oil, fish, and eggs to your diet for their healthy fats.

A diverse diet will provide you with the energy, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fibre you require for good health. (Source)