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What is Parkinson’s Disease

When we talk about Parkinson’s disease, this is referring to a common degenerative neurological disorder that has already affected more than 6 million people globally. In Singapore, an estimated 17,000 patients currently have this condition.

Generally, the condition is characterised by abnormal body movements. This usually manifests in the limbs, and can adversely affect the daily lives of affected people.

Causes of Parkinson’s Disease

The condition is caused by the progressive yet rapid deterioration of a specific structure in the brain known as the substantia nigra. The substantia nigra produces dopamine – the chemical responsible for movement. Thus, its deterioration results in a lack or low level of dopamine in the body subsequently leads to the onset of Parkinson’s disease and its symptoms.

Unfortunately, there is no exact cause for Parkinson’s disease. However, studies have shown that certain factors increase one’s risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Who is at Risk?

There is increased risk for those with head trauma. Age and gender also play a part, with men more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than women. The condition is also more likely to strike those 60 years and older, although it is possible for people to develop Parkinson’s disease at a younger age. Environmental factors and genetics can also contribute to the increased likelihood of developing the condition.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

When it comes to the condition, the following symptoms are common:

  • Difficulty in balancing when walking or standing
  • Drooling and difficulty swallowing
  • Emotionless face
  • Trembling hands, arms, legs, jaw or face when resting
  • Slow walking and slow movement
  • Stiff neck, legs and body
  • Softer voice
  • Cramped or small handwriting

Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease symptoms can be managed through medication or the use of deep brain stimulation.

Medication can either help with the body’s natural production of dopamine, mimic dopamine or prevent the breakdown of existing dopamine.

Deep brain stimulation uses a surgically implanted pulse generator to send electric currents to the affected parts of the brain.

Parkinson’s disease patients can also consider the following therapies to help manage their symptoms and condition:

  • Physiotherapy: To relieve muscle stiffness and joint pain, as well as to improve movement and flexibility.
  • Occupational therapy: To help maintain a certain level of independence when it comes to daily living.
  • Speech therapy: To alleviate swallowing difficulties and speech problems.

Best Practises When Caring for Parkinson’s Disease Patients

With no proper cure in place, the role of caregivers becomes even more important for those suffering with Parkinson’s disease, especially the elderly.

Extra care and concern is required to ensure that patients do not find themselves in dangerous environments or physically hurt themselves with over strenuous activities. Daily tasks can also become more difficult for them, and thus, assistance from a caregiver is a must.

Eating healthy and regular light exercise is also important for condition management and to slow the progression of symptoms.

Homes can be outfitted with proper support structures, such as handrails, to aid in movement. It is also very important to seek out professional advice and options from medical experts. Only this way can we ensure that patients are getting the best care.

The JagaPros Are Here To Help

Caring for someone who suffers from Parkinson’s disease can be hard, but you are not alone in this journey. To help ensure that the right precautions are taken and that safety is the first priority, you can count on the JagaPros to give you a hand. With Jaga-Me’s home care services, our nurses and care assistants can provide your loved ones with the care and attention they need to overcome the condition.

For more information on acquiring support for loved ones, read more here.

Find out more about Jaga-Me and our services here.

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