There is as yet no known cure for Parkinson’s disease, but there are various kinds of treatment often dramatically reduce its symptoms. These treatments include medicine and certain forms of physiotherapy to improve a patient’s ability to move and speak. The main burden of such support usually falls on the relatives and friends of the patient.
The principal medication is called levodopa, or simply L-dopa for short. This substance is building block of dopamine, the chemical that is in short supply in the brain of a Parkinson’s disease patient. Supplied with L-dopa, the brain converts it to dopamine, which in turn reduces the symptoms for hours at a time.
Drugs containing L-dopa do produce side effects in many people, and the patient’s doctor must carefully monitor the dosage so that it does the maximum to relive the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease while minimizing the number and severity of side effects.
How does one get Parkinson’s disease?
No one knows what causes the vast majority for Parkinson’s disease cases. Some, however, are caused by environmental factors, such as carbon monoxide poisoning or poisoning by the metal manganese, or as a side effect of some therapeutic drugs and self-administered drugs such as narcotics. What other environmental factors (if any) may trigger Parkinson’s disease is still not known. What is known is that the disease is not contagious. Nor is there evidence to suggest that it can be handed down from unusual from more than one person in a family to be affected by Parkinson’s disease. But expect for drug side effects and the various environmental toxins mentioned, which tend to act quickly, whatever other factor may cause Parkinson’s disease does its work very slowly over many years.
Statistics show that many people who have Parkinson’s disease live as long as anyone else. The disease itself is not fatal, since it does not paralyze or destroy vital organs such as the heart, the lungs or the liver. As time passes, however, it may become crippling and thus lead to accidents and other life-threatening complications. But with proper care, exercise and nutrition, Parkinson’s disease patients can expect to live reasonably normal and satisfying lives. Those patients who live to a normal life span can also expect to escape senility to the same degree that other people do. That is, mental deterioration is not usually a part of the problem. Nevertheless, people with Parkinson’s disease do get discouraged and depressed if the illness becomes worse. But counseling, self-help groups and psychotherapy can help to improve a patient’s attitude towards the disease.