Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Parkinson's disease (PD) is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that affects movement and progresses slowly in most people.
Parkinson's disease happens when nerve cells in the brain don't produce enough of a brain chemical called dopamine.
Risk factors for PD include - age, heredity, sex (men are more likely to develop the disease than are women), exposure to chemicals or toxins.
To date, the causes of Parkinson's disease remain unknown, but experts believe that the condition is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, which may vary from person to person.
According to the National Parkinson Foundation, about 1 million Americans, and an estimated 4 to 5 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson's. It usually appears after age 60, although sometimes it can develop before age 40.
Muhammad Ali, the iconic three-time world heavyweight boxing champion, who died aged 74 on Friday June 3 2016, from "septic shock due to unspecified natural causes" had Parkinson's for 32 years.
Ali, who was widely regarded as one of the greatest and most significant sporting figures in history, was 42 when he was diagnosed with the condition in 1984
Sadly, there's currently no cure for Parkinson's, but medications may help improve the symptoms although it can be hard to tell if you have the condition. Here are 10 early warning signs that you or someone you love might have the condition:
- Tremor or shaking in your fingers, hands, arms, legs, jaw and face.
- Slowed movement – over time the condition may reduce your movement ability such as slowing down your pace, difficulty rising from a chair or a sitting position.
- Stiffness of the arms, legs and trunk.
- Decreased facial expression, monotonous speech, and decreased eye blinking.
- Muscle stifsness in any part of the body.
- Writing changes such as letter sizes are smaller and the words are crowded together.
- Loss of smell
- Dizziness or fainting
- Poor body balance and coordination
- Swallowing problems in later stages.