Parkinson’s Disease

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Parkinson’s disease is a devastating disease that affects the victim’s central nervous system, their social and family lives, and is a disease that currently has no cure. Parkinson’s is a progressive disease that affects the central nervous system. Each year, there are more than 200,000 cases of the disease diagnosed in the US alone. Parkinson’s disease doesn’t discriminate between men and women or their socio-economic status. There are treatments, but there is no known cure. Parkinson’s impinges the lives of those affected, and transforms them in a way that cannot be reversed.

The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease start gradually, with an unnoticeable tremor or an unintentional movement, but then it progresses into a whole new problem. Parkinson’s is more than uncontrollable movements; it is sometimes the lack of movement. The affected person my not swing their arms when they walk or lack expression in their face. This disease also affects the mind, causing slurs in speech. Life is meant to be lived; it is meant to be enjoyed. As we age, many people have setbacks in their lives that are unexpected.

Parkinson’s disease halts the lives of many in their tracks, and never ceases to not control the victim of the disease. Parkinson’s is one of the most common late-life neurodegenerative diseases, second only to the infamous Alzheimer’s. I will explain to you what Parkinson’s is, how it affects the victims social and family lives, and that it currently cannot be cured.

The Science Behind Parkinson’s disease

What is Parkinson’s disease? Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that affects predominately dopamine producing neurons, known as dopaminergic neurons, in a specific region of the brain called the substania nigra (National Institute of Aging, 2017). It leads to uncontrollable tremors and in some cases loss of movement. Parkinson’s is a progressive disease, so it worsens over time. This disease disrupts sleep, changes mentalities and behaviors, and causes memory ramifications. With 5 to 10 of the diseases’ victims under the age of 50, Parkinson’s affects the elderly. If it discovered early- set, then it is doubtlessly because of genetics. Though this disease is not gender discriminative, women are 50% more likely to contract it.

What causes Parkinson’s disease?

According to the National Institute on Aging, Parkinson’s is caused when the neurons in the area of the brain that controls movement, the substania nigra, become impaired and/or die. These neurons are the ones that produce dopamine, without dopamine the affects of Parkinson’s start to arise. The brain cells of Parkinson’s victims may contain Lewy bodies; these bodies are unusual build-ups of alpha-synuclien (National Institute of Aging, 2017). These Lewy bodies are also cause of Lewy body dementia. Genetics are another factor in why the affected developed Parkinson’s.

Genetic mutations that cause Parkinson’s are exceptionally rare, so it is unlikely that it is the cause of most cases of this disease. Another comparably small risk is toxic environment factors, but they are even more rare than genetic mutations. How Parkinson’s disease is diagnosed Parkinson’s is not determined by blood tests or lab tests like many other diseases, so finding it is quite difficult. In fact, Parkinson’s has many cases where it is misdiagnosed, because of the symptoms that are so similar to other diseases, and thus leads to why people without Parkinson’s are said to have “parksonism”. Medical testing, such as MRI, CAT, and PET and how they react to drug testing will determine if the patient has Parkinson’s (National Institute of Aging, 2017).

A medication that the physician may give the patient is carbidoba-levodoba; improving their disposition after taking such medication is an indicator of Parkinson’s. As already mentioned, it is paradoxical to find out if the patient has Parkinson’s, so many physicians recommend multiple follow-ups with neurologists. Supporting your loved ones Why social groups are needed Parkinson’s is a disease that not only affects whoever has it, but their family as well. Having a chronic illness is a burden enough, the mental impact that Parkinson’s has on the life of the affected is an added stressor.

Parkinson’s makes things such as walking, talking, and other everyday tasks much more complicated. When people without diseases are impaired, they tend to act irritable and upset, but for people with Parkinson’s it is a whole new story. Families are always there for the patient, but it is not like they understand what their relative is going through. Depression is a disease in itself. Many people with Parkinson’s experience depression because they are altered so much mentally and physically that it disrupts their life (Mayo Clinic, 2018).

Depression affects 5% of Americans. Without his/her family, many patients feel empty and lose their battle against Parkinson’s. Social groups aren’t just for patients Parkinson’s affects more people than who are diagnosed; this disease has a lot of mental toll on spouses, parents, and their children. Like many other problematic things that happen to people, there are support groups for people going through Parkinson’s. It helps patients experience a system of support where they can be with others that are going through similar travails. Other recommendations are to see a therapist.

Therapy is not just for those diagnosed with Parkinson’s, but for their families as well. Watching your family go through something that you cannot solve is very disheartening, so getting help so you can help your family is an option. Who to contact for social groups To get details about support groups, the information will be given by doctors, local public health nurses, or disease social workers.

The Parkinson’s Foundation has set up a helpline with access from both their website or the phone. The helpline on the website is available at [email protected]. If looking for an over the phone experience, the number for the helpline is (800) 4PD-INFO (473-4636), which is toll free (Parkinson’s Foundation, 2018).

Parkinson’s is an Incurable Disease Treatments

There may be no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but there are many treatments. The most used treatment for Parkinson’s is levodopa, also known as L-dopa. Nerve cells use levodopa to make dopamine to replenish the brain’s dwindling supply (National Institute of Aging, 2017). Alongside levodopa patients take the medication, carbidoba. Carbidoba is taken to reduce the side affects of levodopa. The side affects are nausea, low blood pressure, vomiting, and restlessness. Patients who are prescribed levodopa should never stop taking it without contacting their physician first.

Withdrawals from the drug will cause difficulty breathing or being unable to move. Other common medicines are anticholinergic drugs, MAO-B inhibitors, and amantadine.

Alternative Treatments

Alternative treatments to Parkinson’s disease are on the avant-garde side. These treatments are more mentally based than actual medications. Many of these supportive therapies ease the pain and strife of Parkinson’s (Mayo Clinic, 2018). Massage is used very rarely due to its lack of funding by insurance companies. Massage releases the tension in muscles and relaxes the patients.

The ancient Chinese art of tai chi requires slow motions that help stimulate flexibility, strength, and balance. Tai chi helps patients with more mild to moderate cases, so it is not for everyone. For many aging people, pet therapy shows great results, the stimulation of caring for an animal soothes patients. Therapy dogs, and even cats, can help patients start to feel young again. Research and Funding Finding a cure for Parkinson’s starts with research. The Parkinson’s Foundation funds research through four main programs dedicated to finding the cause(s) of and a cure for Parkinson’s disease.

The Center of Excellence Network choses from the highest ranks of academic medical centers to discover treatments (Parkinson’s Foundation, 2018). The Parkinson’s Outcome Project enrolls over 12,000 patients in their research projects. Grants and Fellowship Awards keep the centers that do the research working towards the goal of finding a cure for Parkinson’s. Finally, the Clinical Research Fund is given to individuals who do research themselves.


It truly saddens my heart that this disease goes uncured. As we age, many people have setbacks in their lives that are unexpected. Parkinson’s disease halts the lives of many in their tracks, and never ceases to not control the victim of the disease. Parkinson’s is one of the most common late-life neurodegenerative diseases. I have explained to you what Parkinson’s is, how it affects the victims social and family lives, and that it currently cannot be cured.


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Cite this paper

Parkinson’s Disease. (2021, Aug 23). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/parkinsons-disease/

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