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Parkinson's Information
Written By : M. Lieberman 
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When someone experiences the onset of Parkinson's disease, it is a very tragic time for the patient and their families. Because it is a serious degenerative condition, any person suffering from it, is faced with absolutely no hope of recovery, but a very slow and progressive process involving the loss of movement and coordination. The most obvious system involves the tremor, where the person can be observed trembling uncontrollably. There is also a loss in speech capabilities.

Parkinson's affects the central nervous system. It is a movement disorder that has four major symptoms: a rigidity of muscles, a tremor, slowing down of all movement (bradykinesia) and in some instances, a complete loss of movement altogether.

Currently, there is not any cure for Parkinson's, considering all of the research efforts all over the world. There exists a number of treatments that are available which can help to relieve of the patients. Not every patient requires medications but they do get administered when the symptoms are so severe that they have adverse affects on the person's lifestyle.

The disease has been and still remains a mystery to the scientists and physicians across the world, since it was discovered. Unfortunately, Parkinson's disease, at the present time, has no known cure. With the advances in medicine, there are some ways to treat it and hopefully slow down the development. Also, there are numerous support groups to assist and help both patients and caregivers. This provides some needed reassurance that everything is not lost and that there are ways to work to help with the condition.

A very devastating part of the disease is how it can impact a patient's everyday life. The most basic tasks become almost impossible, which eventually leaves the person in need of constant care and attention. There is no test at present to determine who will or who will not develop the disease or to what extent. Scientists and researchers all over the world are doing everything they can to expand their knowledge of the disease, to look for other treatments and even find the elusive cure.

For a patient with Parkinson's, try to remain active and involved as much as possible to keep up morale and keep interested in life. Since Parkinson's is so demoralizing to the patient, it requires a great deal of patience and it can be particularly frustrating to see a loved one descend into such a state of helplessness. There are a variety of ways to help reduce the symptoms of the condition. It is strongly advised that if you are worried about yourself, a friend or a family member, you need to consult with the physician for more information on the disease and what can be done to halt its onset.

This condition starts because there is a destruction or loss of brain cells, which produce the chemical dopamine, which is associated with the activity of muscles.

The course of action offered to a patient will vary with the symptoms and how they disrupt the person's life. This involves determining how the symptoms have affected the the patient's condition and the severity of the condition. There is no guarantee that any of the symptoms will be helped, but these treatments will help to make life more comfortable for the patient. The symptoms will gradually become more apparent in the patient and they are progressive. The patient will recover or get better. Although the condition is degenerative, it is not contagious, it is not genetic and there is very little is known about what causes most instances of the condition. Some cases have been thought to be caused through the extreme abuse of drugs and damage to the brain from other abuses of the body.

The most effective, currently used, to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease is the drug levodopa. This drug is produced naturally from a chemical in both plant matter and animals. It works in conjunction with the nerve cells and produces dopamine, which is destroyed by the patient's condition. This is thought to be one of the underlying causes of the disease. This drug helps the majority of patients to increase the amount of time to lead a normal life and helps delay the development of Parkinson's.

This treatment is only effective with the rigidity and bradykinesia, but it may be of no help in dealing with the tremors or balance problems, experienced by the patient. The drug is very effective and many patients will forget they are actually suffering from the condition and they lead their lives as normal as possible. The unfortunate thing is that levodopa only offers a short-term solution, since there is no way to replace any of the nerve cells that were damaged inside the brain.

As with almost every medication, there are numerous side effects with levodopa. These include a feeling of restlessness, hypotension (low blood pressure) and vomiting. In some instances, patients will on occasion feel confused with their surroundings, but this happens rarely. It is very important for both physicians and the patient to work together closely, so that a happy medium between the benefits and side effects can be achieved.

When levopoda is used with the drug tolcapone, this combination of medications can significantly reduce the major effects of the disease because it helps to block the dopamine that is destroyed and causes the condition to get worse. As a precaution, this can increase both the involuntary movement and twitching over a prolonged course of treatment. Sometimes the drug is discontinued for several days at a time and this helps to ensure that it will continue to be effective, when restarted. Patients must never stop the treatment with levodopa without approval of their physician because of potentially extreme and serious side effects that can occur as a result.

Although there currently is no cure for this disease, the medications can help to suppress both the debilitating and disabling symptoms of this condition and make life more tolerable.

 
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