Chronic Conditions

Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive degenerative brain disorder that primarily causes movement disorders. While the symptoms are initially mild, it worsens over time, affecting the patient’s learning and memory. The patient might have to rely on others to take care of himself/herself.

Initial symptoms include: 

    • Involuntary shaking (tremors) 
    • Slow movement 
    • Becoming stiff or rigid 
    • Lose of balance and difficulty in walking

Later stages will cause:

• Memory loss
• Hallucinations
• Feelings of depression, anxiety or general loss in interest in everyday life

It can also cause problems with vision, sleeping and swallowing.


Diagnosis


There are no specific laboratory tests to confirm Parkinson’s disease. It is usually diagnosed after a careful review of the patient’s medical history and a physical evaluation by a Neurologist. Tests, including blood investigations and imaging studies of the brain, may be conducted to verify that the patient does not have any other conditions similar to Parkinson’s disease.


Although Parkinson's disease can't be cured, medications may markedly improve your symptoms. In occasional cases, your doctor may suggest surgery to regulate certain regions of your brain and improve your symptoms.

Medications are usually prescribed by Neurologists, and tailored to suit individual patients. There are several forms of medicines available, and one of the key aims is to increase the brain’s dopamine - a brain chemical that is deficient in patients with Parkinson’s disease due to selective degeneration of dopamine-producing brain cells.

Surgery is not for everyone, and only selected patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease will benefit from it. Neurosurgeons will implant electrodes into a specific part of the brain, so as to control various movement disorders (such as rigidity and tremors). Your neurologist or family doctor may refer you to a neurosurgeon if he/she feels that you will benefit from surgery.

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  1. Does Parkinson's disease run in families?
Although about 10 per cent of those with Parkinson's disease will also have a relative who is affected, the vast majority of patients have no familial history. Like many other diseases, Parkinson's disease is likely to be the result of a complex interaction between both genetic and environmental factors.

  2. What else can i do besides taking the prescribed medication?
Be well informed about the possible physical symptoms of the disease. Symptoms can fluctuate widely from day to day, in different situations and in response to different medications. It is also important to stay as active as possible. Don't give up on daily activities and incorporate some regular exercise into your life.