This week, we observed “World Parkinson day” on 11th April.

It is the birth anniversary of James Parkinson, the English surgeon, who first described the symptoms of the disease.

We all have seen patients of tremors and Parkinson’s disease. But tremor is only a symptom and not always synonymous with Parkinson’s disease.

A tremor is repetitive, involuntary, rhythmic trembling of one or more parts of the body. It may be caused by many different diseases. Essential tremor is one the most common causes, resulting in “postural or action” tremors (while holding objects or doing fine activity). Thyroid diseases, alcohol and some medicines are also frequent reasons of developing tremors. Parkinson’s disease cause tremor at rest, often starting in one hand and may progress.

You may need to consult your neurologist to find out the exact reason of your tremor.

Talking of Parkinson’s disease, it is a common neurological disease; of elderly. It may cause slowness of activities, stiffness of body, tremors and instability. It occurs due to deficiency of a neurotransmitter dopamine in a part of the brain (basal ganglia); due to the degeneration of brain cells in that part of the brain.

 

The diagnosis is mostly clinical. There is no single “definite” laboratory or radiology test. A good clinical examination usually reveals the disease to doctor.

Unfortunately, it’s a progressive disease. Medicines help to decrease symptoms and improve the quality of life of the patient. Most patients can live a normal, productive life for more than 10 to 15 years with treatment.

Exercise helps in every aspect, especially in reducing the stiffness of the muscles. Simple exercises of stretching and/or walking, swimming are sufficient, easy and rewarding.

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is a type of surgical treatment available and maybe done for patients with Idiopathic Parkinson’s disease. It stimulates basal ganglia cells with external pacemaker. You may discuss about when and how it should be done with your doctor.