Parkinsons disease in its early stage can as well mimic numerous conditions because of its manifestations.
The diseases which are identified to resemble Parkinsons disease are: multiple system atrophy, corticobasal degeneration, progressive supranuclear palsy, Lewy body dementia, head trauma, stroke (See: Symptoms of a Stroke), encephalitis or inflammation of the brain tissues. Primary lateral sclerosis (See: Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms and Alzheimer’s disorder can as well be erroneously identified as Parkinsons disease. There are similar disorders that involve dystonic tremors and drug-induced Parkinsons disease.
How to Diagnose Parkinsonism?
An accurate and immediate diagnosis of this disease is essential in developing a good treatment plan to sustain a productive life as much as possible. Nevertheless, there is no specific test to detect the incidence of this disorder with certainty. For dead persons, this disease can be confirmed through an autopsy. In the early stage of this disease, it is very challenging to diagnose due to its similarities to other diseases related to movement difficulties. Patients with Parkinsonism may occasionally be misdiagnosed as having other diseases. Therefore, it is important to reassess patients in the early stage on a standard basis to disqualify the existence of other diseases that can be the cause of the symptoms.
Physicians who specialize in movement dysfunctions are called neurologists. They are responsible to make the most accurate diagnosis of the disease. A preliminary evaluation will be made based on the medical records of the patient. Neurological assessments and evaluation of symptoms are done to help confirm the incidence of the disease.
The medical records of the patient are essential evidence. The physician would try to investigate if someone in the family has Parkinsons disease. The types of medication that the patient has taken will also be looked into. The neurological examination can include an assessment of walking, fine motor movements, and coordination involving the hands.
Numerous guidelines have been developed to aid in the diagnosis of Parkinsonism. These guidelines involve the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale and the Yahr and Hoehn scale. Assessments are performed to evaluate the patient’s mental behavior, capacity, mood, motor function, and daily living activities. They can be very useful in the preliminary diagnosis to discount other diseases as well as in observing the development of the disorder to make therapeutic modifications. Brain imaging and other laboratory examinations are also performed, mostly to diagnose other diseases akin to Parkinsons disease.
The diagnosis of this disorder is more probable if the onset of manifestations commenced in one portion of the body; no less than two to three major manifestations are evident (tremors during rest periods, slowness, and muscle rigidity); and indications are significantly resolved with the administration of levodopa.
What are the Treatments for Parkinsons disease?
There is an unknown treatment for Parkinsons disease. The objective of management is to control the manifestations. Prescribed medications can only control the symptoms of Parkinsons disease by increasing the dopamine levels in the brain tissues. At definite points of the day, the therapeutic effects of these drugs frequently wear off. The manifestations can flare up again if the results of the drugs lose their effects. Physicians might need to modify the dose, type of medication, route of administration, and interval of drug administrations.
Patients must work closely with their physicians to modify their treatment regimen on a regular basis. Never stop or change any drugs without consulting with their doctors. Many drugs can cause rigorous side effects, such as nausea, hallucinations, vomiting, delirium, and diarrhea. Observing the symptoms and having follow-up checkups with their physicians are important.
Numerous therapies are accessible to impede the development of motor manifestations and to improve motor deficiencies. All of these managements are intended to augment the levels of dopamine in the brain either by resembling dopamine, replacing dopamine, or extending the effects of dopamine by slowing down its breakdown. Early therapy can hinder the commencement of motor manifestations thereby prolonging the life of a patient.
The most effective management for this condition is levodopa or Sinemet. This converts dopamine in the brain. Nevertheless, a long-standing treatment with Sinemet can cause horrible side effects such as painful cramps, involuntary movements, and increased drug tolerance. This drug is often prescribed along with carbidopa which averts levodopa from being disintegrated before it arrives in the brain.
In the early stage of this condition, medications that resemble the action of dopamine or a dopamine agonist are used to replace the patient’s dopamine deficiencies. Medications that decrease the dopamine breakdown, such as MAO-B inhibitors or Monoamine Oxidase Type-B inhibitors, can be very efficient in resolving motor manifestations. Side effects of these medications are quite typical, including: swelling of the body tissues, dizziness, nausea, hallucinations, and constipation.
What are the Complications of Parkinsons Disease?
Parkinsons disease is not a deadly disease, but it can decrease a person’s prolonged existence. The disorder develops rapidly in the elderly and may result in severe incapacity within 10 to 20 years. Elderly patients as well can be predisposed to have greater and freezing declines in mental abilities and in daily tasks than younger patients. This condition can critically impair the eminence of life in any age population. The patient can have complications such as sleep problems, dysphagia, depression, urinary problems, sexual dysfunctions, and constipation.
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