This is a mental health condition that affects 10 million people worldwide and 60,000 people yearly in America alone.
Parkinson’s is a nervous system disorder that can affect movement, cause tremors, shakes and restlessness. It is common to see tremors in the hands first. There is a slowing of movement, of speech and gait muscle rigidity and confusion is also attributed.
It is thought that low dopamine levels are associated with this disease.
- Symptoms: Parkinson’s disease symptoms may vary among individuals but commonly include:
Tremors or shaking, usually starting in the hands, fingers, or limbs.
Muscle stiffness and rigidity, causing difficulty with movement and mobility.
Bradykinesia, which is a slowness of movement, making simple tasks challenging.
Postural instability, leading to balance problems and an increased risk of falls.
Changes in speech and writing, such as speaking softly or experiencing handwriting difficulties.
Non-motor symptoms, including depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and cognitive changes (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 2021).
- Causes and Risk Factors: The exact cause of Parkinson’s disease is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some genetic mutations and variations have been associated with an increased risk of developing the disease. Environmental factors, such as exposure to certain toxins, may also play a role (Dauer & Przedborski, 2003; Kalia & Lang, 2015).
- Neurological Changes: Parkinson’s disease is characterized by the progressive degeneration of dopamine-producing cells in the brain, particularly in a region called the substantia nigra. The loss of dopamine leads to the motor symptoms associated with the disease. Other brain changes, such as the accumulation of abnormal protein deposits called Lewy bodies, are also observed (Lees et al., 2009).
- Diagnosis: Parkinson’s disease diagnosis is based on a thorough medical history, neurological examination, and assessment of symptoms. There is no specific test for Parkinson’s disease, so the diagnosis is typically made based on clinical criteria and the exclusion of other conditions with similar symptoms (Postuma et al., 2015).
- Treatment: While there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, various treatment options are available to manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Medications, such as levodopa, dopamine agonists, and other drugs that enhance dopamine function, are commonly prescribed. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy can help manage movement difficulties and maintain functionality. In some cases, deep brain stimulation surgery may be considered (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 2021).
- Research and Future Perspectives: Ongoing research is focused on better understanding the underlying mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease, developing new therapeutic strategies, and exploring potential neuroprotective interventions. Clinical trials are being conducted to test novel treatments and interventions aimed at slowing disease progression (Hirsch et al., 2016).
Let’s take a look at the medications used to treat this mental health disorder.
Levadopa For Parkinson’s
Levadopa is a precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine. It synthesizes and increases dopamine in the brain.
Levadopa helps with movement and tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease. This medication can also help restless legs associated with Parkinson’s.
Your physician may want to prescribe Levadopa if you or a loved one suffers from Parkinson’s disease. Go to my telemedicine for a consultation with a practitioner today.
May Come with Side Effects
Common side effects include trouble sleeping, nightmares, vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, headaches and more.
Let’s take a look at other options for treating Parkinson’s Disease.
These work by copying the action of dopamine in the brain. They bind to dopamine receptors. The binding is found on the nerve cells that regulate body movement and motor control.
The FDA approved four dopamine agonists to treat this disease.
Dopamine agonists have longer half-lives than levodopa. They produce more dopamine receptor stimulation than levodopa can produce on its own.
Levadopa produces toxic free radicals. Therefore, dopamine agonists are safer.
Dopamine agonists together with levadopa can be used as treatment. This can limit symptoms more than one treatment alone.
May Come with Side Effects
Side effects are common. They include headaches, constipation, nausea, low blood pressure, hallucinations, fatigue, dizziness, fainting, as well as over-shopping (spending all of ones savings), over-eating, over sexual behaviors and even gambling ones money away.
Let’s take a look at other medications.
These medications block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain. When acetylcholine is out of balance it can lower dopamine. Acetylcholine works together with dopamine, so they can balance each other. This helps raise dopamine levels for sufferers.
These are the first medications used for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. They help treat tremors and dystonia associated with the condition.
Common Anticholinergic Medications:
May Come with Side Effects
Some side effects are common and they include memory impairment, cognitive decline, and hallucinations.
It is crucial for individuals with Parkinson’s disease to work closely with healthcare professionals to develop an individualized treatment plan and receive appropriate support.
Dauer, W., & Przedborski, S. (2003). Parkinson’s disease: Mechanisms and models. Neuron, 39(6), 889-909.
Hirsch, E. C., Hunot, S., & Hartmann, A. (2016). Neuroinflammatory processes in Parkinson’s disease. Parkinsonism & Related Disorders, 22(Suppl. 1), S1-S4.
Kalia, L. V., & Lang, A. E. (2015). Parkinson’s disease. The Lancet, 386(9996), 896-912.
Lees, A. J., Hardy, J., & Revesz, T. (2009). Parkinson’s disease. The Lancet,