Parkinson’s disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative disorders that have affected many people around the world and is still doing what it does best; debilitating its victims. The treatments that many patients have been subjected to only target the symptoms of the disease, some of which are eradicated but as for others the patients have to go for the treatments periodically to suppress the pain and severity of the symptoms of PD. There are various ways of treating those suffering from Parkinson’s disease; however it is recommended that a person should begin treatment as soon as he or she is diagnosed with the disease, lest it becomes a hard nut to crack. The tremors may become too severe if treatment is begun too late.
As opposed to other diseases whose causes are still a mystery, the cause of this disease is now known. Parkinson’s disease is caused by the continued loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain. Dopamine is an essential brain chemical that helps to regulate movement and emotional responses among other cognitive functions.
Dopamine deficiency is the salient feature of those suffering from Parkinson’s disease. The disease kills the dopamine producing nerve cells in the substantia nigra. The disease affects the substantia nigra in a way that it elicits the problems associated with reasoning, movement, sleeping and motivation. This disease is also linked to the formation of alpha-synuclein- these are clumps of proteins in the brain. These clumps of proteins only worsen the condition of the patient. It is the continuous death of the nerve cells in the substantia nigra that results in the patients developing tremors and rigidity as well as slowed movements. Other symptoms include; dementia, depression, insomnia, constipation and loss of balance. Dementia is usually suffered at later stages, a critical stage in which the damage has spread to the rest of the body.
As stated earlier the cause of PD is depletion of dopamine at the substantia nigra. Owing to this fact, doctors have been treating those suffering from PD with dopamine boosting drugs. These drugs help in elevating the levels of dopamine in the brain and so make up for the depleted dopamine. The most common of all the dopamine level boosting drugs is the levodopa. This drugs works in a way that it boosts level of dopamine as it turns into dopamine while in the body. It crosses the blood-brain barrier and is considered the most effective drug for PD. however this drug may not work efficiently without an enzyme inhibitor known as carbidopa as it will be broken down by blood enzymes before it reaches the brain. The enzyme inhibitor also prevents levodopa from being metabolized in the gastroinstenal tract, liver and other tissues thus more of it reaches the brain.
When used alongside carbidopa, the dosage needed to treat symptoms will be reduced and is the side effects like vomiting and nausea that are mostly suffered as a side effect of the drug. It will in turn reduce stiffness, tremors and slowness among other symptoms. It is however important to note that levodopa only addresses the symptoms but neither restores the normal release of dopamine nor slows the progression of the disease.
Levodopa never heals the damaged neurons but rather stands for the dopamine lost, it is therefore not targeted to heal the patient but rather to mitigate on the effects of the disease. therefore other therapies that may help ease the side effects of the drug as well as promote healing should be given due considerations by the patients and their doctors. Dieting may help improve dopamine levels in the brain naturally. There are scenarios when a patient will have to undergo surgery which may include deep stimulation with implanted electrodes.
Just like other neurodegenerative diseases the need for proper treatment must involve a therapy that will focus more on healing the damaged nerves and neurons as opposed to simply mitigating on the symptoms. Drugs or treatments that mitigate on the symptoms become a part of a person’s life as they have to undergo treatment periodically. In the end the use of levodopa may even result in a condition known as Dyskinesia. Doctors have been working on the viability of stem cell therapy in treatment of this disease. The treatment will targets the special features and abilities of the stem cells to form all cells of the body, the stem cells can be used to help in repairing the damage on the neurons producing dopamine and restore the normal levels of dopamine in the brain.
There are research findings that have elicited hope for those suffering from this disease as there has never been a treatment that fully heals those suffering the disease, it is hoped that the stem cell therapy is going to be a lasting solution.
For more information on viability of stem cell therapy in treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, visit www.awaremednetwork.com Dr. Dalal Akoury, an expert in integrative medicine will be of help. You can also check: http://www.integrativeaddiction2015.com to be up to date with the upcoming Integrative Addiction Conference 2015. The conference will equip you with knowledge on the unique approaches of telling addiction symptoms as well as how to help addicts.