Parkinson’s disease is a condition affecting the central nervous system. Dr Henryk Kranz discusses the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

Hello, I’m Dr Henryk Kranz, consultant neurologist. I joined the Editorial Advisory Board of the Virtual Neuro Centre two years ago, and today I would like to share with you my insights on Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a condition affecting the Central Nervous System. It generally comes on in the older age group and is of insidious onset. The cause of the condition is unknown. There are three cardinal presenting or clinical features. These consist of tremor, some slowed down movement called bradykinesia, and an increased stiffness of muscle also termed rigidity.

Because of the usually slow nature or onset of the condition, it is sometimes not recognised by patients or family in the early stages. One of the concerns that people have when they develop tremor is that they may have Parkinson’s disease. Quite often, however, tremor has a more benign origin and is a so-called “essential tremor.” The difference between the two can usually be recognised clinically.

couple_man_woman_old_hands_300x240Parkinson’s disease is a clinical diagnosis and up to date there have been no additional tests, such as radiological studies or blood tests, to help confirm the diagnosis. Recent developments indicate that a diagnostic blood test may become available in the future.

Parkinson’s disease is fortunately amenable to treatment and there are a number of medications which have been developed in this regard.

Parkinson’s disease is largely related to a deficiency of a particular neuro-transmitter in the brain, and medications are designed to boost the amount of this transmitter.

Patients generally respond well in the early stage but, because it is a slow progressive disorder, medication regime has to be monitored and changed over time to deal with this. This means that regular attendance with a doctor or specialist is important so that progress can be monitored and adjustments to treatment made.

Other factors are also important in on-going care. These include in particular lifestyle factors and it has been found that an active lifestyle, both physically and mentally, is an important component in improving patient’s response to this disorder.

Attempts have been made to slow progression and a number of medications have been used in this regard, as well as natural products and supplements.

Continuing work is being done with respect to this disorder and it is hoped that in the future better therapeutic modalities will become available.

Thank you for watching and have a great day.

More information

2857_woman_old5_small For more information on risk factors, symptoms and how it is treated, visit Parkinson’s Disease