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What is Parkinson’s disease?

It is a disorder in which there is depletion of dopamine in basal ganglia (part of brain). Prevalence is about 1% and usually occurs around 55 years.

What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease?

  • Tremor of hands (at rest)/ Pill rolling tremor
  • Stiffness of body / Rigid muscles
  • Slowness of daily activities / Bradykinesia
  • Stooped and flexed posture
  • Difficulty in walking/ Freezing
  • Slowness of gait/ Small short shuffling steps /Reduced arm swing during walking
  • Tendency to fall during walking & turning/ Imbalance
  • Decreased frequency of blinking/ Mask like expressionless face
  • Soft speech / Reduced volume of speech.
  • Change in hand writing /Writing very small words/ Micrographia/ Difficulty in doing signature
  • Depression/ constipation/ difficulty in smelling/ Persistent stiffness of shoulder or arm
    In early stages, symptoms & signs remain on one side of body but eventually involves other side with time.

What are the causes of Parkinson’s disease?

Primary (Idiopathic)
Secondary: When there is any cause like Drugs, infection, toxins, tumour, Trauma, Parkinson plus syndrome & degenerative disorders.

Which investigations are required to diagnose Parkinson’s disease?

It is a clinical diagnosis, usually no test is required but if there are red flags, certain tests like MRI brain or DaT Scan are helpful.

What is the treatment of Idiopathic Parkinson’s disease?

Certain drugs are available which are very effective in controlling above symptoms and the patient can lead almost normal life but these drugs are to be taken under neurologist supervision

What is DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation) surgery in Parkinson’s disease?

It has been shown to be of marked benefit primarily for tremor & is able to suppress dyskinesia’s
but it is specifically indicated for certain group of patients only.

Dr Gourav Jain, MD, DM Neurology (PGI Chandigarh)
Consultant, Neurologist

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