Parkinson`s Disease


Patricia Acord

Central Methodist University

The Parkinson`s disease

Parkinson’s disease, also referred to as the idiopathic orhyperkinetic rigid system (HRS), is a neurological disorder whichleads to the loss of ability to control body movements (Pace &ampGlass, 2000). The disorder is named after an English doctor JamesParkinson, who published the first detailed description of thedisorder in an essay titled An Essay on the Shaking Palsy (1817).Thedisorder arises from the inability to produce the neurotransmitterdopamine, a chemical that helps nerve cells to communicate. This isafter the death of the dopamine generating cells known as SubstantiaNigra, a death process whose cause is not yet known. Thisresearch project will look at the devastating effects of theParkinson’s disease on the human body examine some studies, andmedications used to treat the disorder. Additionally, the paper willedify the alternative therapies used in managing the disorder, suchas physical and occupational therapy used to enhance body movements.


The rationale for researching on Parkinson’s disease is thefirst-hand effect the disease has impacted on my family, leading tothe loss of two family members. The two relatives were constantshaking and trembling and experienced difficulties in speaking andgrasping objects. Later, the disease progressed to dementia, leadingto their death. The purpose of this paper is to gain more knowledgeand understanding of the disorder, providing alternative therapymethods, helping individuals to provide the requisite therapy forindividuals suffering from the disorder.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

In the United States, Parkinson’s disease is second only to theAlzheimer’s disease in terms of frequency as a neurodegenerativedisorder (Cummings, 1999). Early signs of the disorder are signifiedby movement-related symptoms such as slowness of movement, rigidity,shaky legs as well as inability to walk upright. These are caused bythe lack of sufficient production of dopamine, which controls thecommunications from the brain to the muscles. Other non-motorsymptoms include autonomic dysfunction of the neuropsychiatricsystem, leading to behavior, mood, cognition or thought alterations.These non-motor symptoms often precede the motor symptoms and areoften present at the time of treatment. Dopamine directs andcontrols body movement, and is responsible for smooth and deliberatemovements among humans.

Movement related impacts of Parkinson’s disease makes it difficultfor patients to carry out normal daily functions such as walking,with the resulting tremors and shakes worsening when the patient isat rest. Body organs such as the legs and hands move less smoothly,often in an uncoordinated manner, in most cases leading todifficulties in grasping objects. Sometimes the patient remains inone position longer than usual with the facial expressions andmovements decreasing. There may be problems with speech as thedisease progresses, with the patient becoming softer spoken and withshaky speech. The disorder is prevalent amongst older people, withmany cases reported from the age of fifty. In the developed stages ofthe disease, some muscles are tense and contracted because they donot receive the correct input from the brain and the nervous system.This leads to increased tremors, which result in intentionalmovements Progression of the disease may lead to Posturalinstability, followed by dementia and other behavioral disorders.Other impacts of the disorder include psychiatrist disorders such asdepression and mental incapacitation, and finally death.


Parkinson’s disorder can be divided into four classificationsaccording to the cause. Primary or idiopathic Parkinson’s disorderresults from the death of the Dopamine-producing cells. The secondclassification is the secondary or acquired Parkinson’s, where thepatient acquires the disorder from exposure to environmental factorslike chemicals and heavy metals. The third classification, thehereditary classification is genetic, inherited from patient’sfamily lineage. The fourth classification is the Parkinson’s Plussyndrome, which results from the presence of Levodopa relatedDyskinesia and motor fluctuations. Evidence indicates that theformation of hydrogen peroxide and oxygen-derived free radicalsdamage cell membranes, leading to cell damage (Cummings, 1999).

Treatment and Therapy

The speed of progression from diagnosis to severe impairment of thisdisease can range from ten to twenty years. Patients often do notrequire medication in the early stages, but some form is usuallyrequired within two years of the diagnosis. Presently, there is noknown cure for the disorder, but a variety of medications providedramatic relief from the symptoms. Among the known prescription tocontrol Parkinson’s include a mixture of Levodopa, Carbidopa, andDopamine. The mixture is administered Levodopa to make dopamine andreplenish the brain`s dwindling supply. (Kovosi &amp Freeman, 2011).With the progression of the disease, medications may become lesseffective leading to the need for surgery to decrease symptoms andimpact of the disease on the patient. Surgical therapies such as deepbrain stimulation and transplantation of human fetal dopamine cellsare among the promising therapies that are used in managing thedisorder (Cummings, 1999).

Besides surgery and medications, therapeutic treatments, such asoccupational therapy, and regular exercise such as swimming may beused to enhance movement. These therapeutic methods should includefollow-up visits every three or four month, to improve the patient’sphysical movement coordination. The goals of occupational therapy areto aid in functional deficits, motor and movement problems, and rangeof motion, dexterity and coordination. Occupational therapy may alsoaddress issues with daily activities of life by teaching techniquesto reduce the effects of tremors.

Parkinson’s disease is a devastating disease, impacting on everyaspect of daily living. The disease takes away the patient`s abilityto control the movements of the body parts. Although medications arevery effective in controlling symptoms, they do not cure thedisorder, requiring constant monitoring and adjustments of thepatient (Tarsy, 2012). Surgical remedies have proved effective in thetreatment of the disorder, but occupational therapy is the mostinvasive and beneficial since it helps patients to adapt to theirforced disabilities and cope with daily living. It is occupationaltherapy that adds quality and dignity to a patient’s life andshould be used extensively in case of failed treatment.

Disease prevention

One the known strategy to prevent oneself from the Parkinson’sdisease is the consumption of Caffeine. Caffeine appears to be one ofthe known protective measures against the disease, with the risk ofprotracting the diseases decreasing with increased uptake ofcaffeine. Research has evidenced that though smoking tobaccopredisposes individual to adverse health effects, it reduces therisks of contracting the disorder by a third, as compared tonon-smokers. This is attributed to nicotine that is a dopaminestimulant. Antioxidants like Vitamins C and D have also proven vitalin preventing the disorder. Other protective measures include the useof estrogens and anti-inflammatory drugs.

From the aforementioned the Parkinson’s disease is a neurologicaldisorder that leads to the inability to control body movements. Amongthe early symptoms of the disorder include slowed movements, shakylegs and inability to walk upright. The disorder results from theinability to produce dopamine that control body movements, after thedeath of Substantia Nigra. However, the cause of death of SubstantiaNigra is not yet known. However, studies have linked the disease togenetic factors such as the presence of levodopa related dyskinesia.Among the prescribed treatments of the disorder include medicationssuch as levodopa-carbidopa dopamine, surgical methods such as deepbrain stimulation and transplantation of human fetal dopamine cells.If these treatment methods are ineffective, the patients shouldundergo therapeutic treatments, such as occupational therapy andregular exercise to enhance muscular movements.


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