By: medekomadmin

Thriving with Parkinson’s at an older age…

July 21, 2022

Shaking legs, arms etc may be a sign of Parkinson’s disease. However, they all are symptoms of essential tremors. Or we can say tremors often are the first symptoms of Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s disease is a central nervous system disorder caused when the basal ganglia part of the brain nerve cell can’t produce enough dopamine. People after 65 years of age are most likely to have this disease although symptoms are visible before the onset of 50s. It has been seen that men are more prone to have this disease than women. Symptoms are slow movement, stiffness and difficulty in balance and coordination which are getting worse as time passes by. It is found that Parkinson's in some cases is heredity and in some, it is caused by a specific gene mutation. Research is still going on about environmental factors such as exposure to toxins etc.


  • Tremor- A tremor is seen in arms, legs, fingers etc. The trembling hand is seen when you are at rest.
  • Rigid muscles- Muscle stiffness can occur in any part of the body for a longer period.
  • Bradykinesia- Slowness of movement and taking time to complete any task.
  • Posture instability- posture may become stopped and have balancing problems.

Additional symptoms may include-

  • Depression and emotional changes
  • Swallowing problems
  • Speaking and Writing problems
  • Sleep problems and sleep disorders. 
  • Thinking difficulties.
  •  Blood pressure changes. 
  • Smell dysfunction. 
  • Fatigue
  • Urinary problems
The symptoms of Parkinson's differ among people. This may start from one side and then after the other side and eventually affects both sides of the body. The severity of symptoms may differ on both sides. Over time some people are diagnosed with Lewy body dementia which is a type of Parkinson’s dementia which affects memory and thinking problems.

TREATMENTS FOR PARKINSON’S DISEASE There is no proper cure for Parkinson’s disease. But there are some medicines, surgeries and therapy which somehow help to treat the disease and minimize symptoms.  

1) MEDICINES* (*medicines should only be taken under doctor’s supervision) There are no such drugs which uplift the level of dopamine because they cannot enter the brain directly. However, there are some medicines which indirectly increase the level of dopamine in the brain and affect brain chemicals like neurotransmitters to transfer information between the brain cells.

LEVODOPA-Most effective Parkinson’s medicine so far. It is a natural chemical that is given into the brain and converted to dopamine with the help of nerve cells. Along with levodopa, carbidopa is taken to reduce some of the side effects like nausea, light-headedness, vomiting, and low blood pressure. Do not stop taking this drug without consulting your doctor as you may face serious side effects and breathing problems.

Dopamine agonists-It mimics dopamine and stimulates the production of dopamine in the brain. Some sides include hallucinations, sleepiness etc

Enzyme inhibitors (e.g., MAO-B inhibitors, COMT inhibitors)-Increase the amount of dopamine by slowing down the enzymes that break down dopamine in the brain. Side effects include diarrhoea, nausea or vomiting.

Amantadine helps reduce involuntary movements like tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease. Purple mottling of the skin, ankle swelling or hallucinations are the side effects.

Anticholinergic drugs like benztropine (Cogentin) or trihexyphenidyl-To reduce tremors and muscle rigidity. Side effects such as impaired memory, confusion, hallucinations, constipation, dry mouth and impaired urination.  


Deep Brain Stimulation When a person did not respond well to the above treatments doctor recommended deep brain stimulation to reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. A surgeon implants electrodes into a specific part of the brain and connects them to a small electrical device implanted in the chest which sends electric pulses to the brain which may help in reducing symptoms. It does not help to perfect the way to cure the disease rather it only helps to maintain Parkinson’s symptoms under control.  


Non-Invasive MR Guided Focused Ultrasound: An incisionless treatment by INSIGHTEC is another option for patients who do not respond to medications. The heat generated by ultrasound waves is passed through the patient’s skull to destroy the target cell in the thalamus thus providing a remedial effect. Exablate Neuro is the system developed by INSIGHTEC (the first and only company to bring Exablate neuro) which uses focused ultrasound along with MRI. During the treatment, the patient lies in the MRI scanner with his head in the ultrasound helmet. Firstly, low waves are given so that patients provide feedback about any side effects they face. After that, high energy is applied to make a final ablation which is guided and monitored by MR imaging. This treatment is only applicable to patients who are 30 years or older. Tremor-dominant Parkinson’s patients show the best result with minimal side effects.

INSIGHTEC have various treatment centers which benefit people with non-surgical treatment, minimal hospitalization, show immediate results in a single treatment and are CE Marked- which tells treatment is safe and effective with minimal side effects.  

Other therapy may include-

  • Healthy eating- A diet full of nutrients, and high fiber content may benefit Parkinson’s disease.
  • Exercise-Performing exercise daily helps in strengthening muscles and improving flexibility and balance.
  • Massage therapy-It reduces muscle tension and promotes relaxation.
  • Yoga and tai chi -Improve flexibility, balance and maintain posture which prevents falls.

So, don’t let the disease affect you. Try to cope with the situation and take the help of families, friends and people around you. Families should also understand the situation that one is going through by supporting them and taking care of them.