What is Parkinson’s Disease (PD)?
Parkinson’s disease (PD) (or idiopathic / primary parkinsonism) is a progressive disease of the nervous system marked by tremor, muscular rigidity, and slow, imprecise movement, chiefly affecting middle-aged and elderly people. It is associated with degeneration of the basal ganglia of the brain and a deficiency of the neurotransmitter dopamine (Oxford University Press, 2016). Dopamine is one of the neurotransmitter in the brain used to send signals from one cell to another; without it, reactions are significantly slowed.
Idiopathic, or primary, PD is both spontaneous and of an unknown cause and accounts for over 70% of all Parkinsonism (Macphee, 2001). Parkinsonism can also arise in the form of Secondary Parkinsonism, which can be caused by a variety of influences which affect the body at a pathological level. These can include: infection, drugs, toxins, trauma and vascular disease (Jones and Playfer, 2004).
One person in every 500 has PD. That's about 127,000 people in the UK and sadly there is currently no cure. (Parkinson’s UK, 2016). There are, however many ways available to manage the symptoms of PD. (Physio-pedia, 2016a)
People with PD are known to be limited by the following symptoms:
-Tremor of the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face
-Bradykinesia or slowness of movement
-Rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk
-Postural instability or impaired balance and coordination
(Parkinson's Disease Foundation, 2016)
However, PD can also influence other problems, particularly concerning mobility and balance as the majority of people with PD are of an advance age (Aragon et al., 2007).
The most common additional disorders associated with PD are those that affect the cardiorespiratory system, the neuropsychiatric problems, infections, and metabolic and musculoskeletal processes, but it has also been known to affect sleep and bladder/bowel function (Hierrezuelo Cortina n.d; Rodríguez Díaz, 2009).
If left untreated, PD can halt your walking within 8 years and leave you bedridden by 10 years (Poewe, 2006). Luckily, not many people with PD are left untreated and there are many management options available.
(Greenline senior care, 2016)
Physioimpulse Chartered Physiotherapists