Parkinsonism is a term used to refer to the symptoms associated to the Parkinson’s disease, symptoms that are triggered by another condition such as:-
- Viral encephalitis – this is a brain inflammation, although a rare condition, that assumes flu-like infection symptoms
- Degenerative disorders such as corticobasal ganglionic degeneration, dementia, progressive supranuclear palsy, and dementia to mention but a few
- Structural brain disorders like strokes and brain tumors
- Head injury, especially continuous injuries on the head as a result of boxing and stuff, causing someone to be punch-drunk
- Excessive use of drugs such as antihypetensives methyldopa, antipsychotics, and reserpine
- Harmful toxins like carbon monoxide, manganese, and methanol to mention but a few.
The toxins and drugs work by blocking or interfering with the action of neurotransmitters. A very good example is the use of antipsychotic drugs which are used to treat conditions such as schizophrenia and paranoia… they tend to interfere with dopamine’s action.
Symptoms of Parkinsonism
The symptoms of Parkinsonism are more or less the same as those of the Parkinson’s disease which include stiff muscles, resting tremor, slow movements, difficulty maintaining body balance, difficulty walking. The things responsible for Parkinsonism could also be responsible for other variations and/or symptoms of parkinsonian symptoms e.g.
- Severe memory loss as a result of dementia
- Urinary problems and low blood pressure as a result of multiple system atrophy
- Aphasia – inability to understand or even express yourself in both spoken and written languages, Apraxia – inability to undertake easy skilled tasks , Agnosia – inability to link an object with its usual function or role all because of corticobasal ganglionic degeneration. The symptoms of corticobasal ganglionic degeneration mostly occur after the age of 60 and after about 5 years the patient will be rendered immobile, which is then followed by death after circa 10 years.
In an effort to diagnose Parkinsonism, your doctor will enquire about any exposure to harmful toxins, any related disorders in the past, and the use of drugs that could trigger Parkinsonism. Computed tomography (CT) i.e. a brain imaging procedure, or (MRI) Magnetic Resonance Imaging, could also be carried out to search for structural disorders that could lead to the symptoms. If still the diagnosis is still vague, your doctor could administer a drug known as levodopa, which is commonly used to treat the Parkinson’s disease. This is in an effort to rule out the disease and if the results of the drug show a positive improvement in the signs and symptoms, then the likely cause of the symptoms could be the Parkinson’s disease.
Note that if the underlying condition is to be treated, Parkinsonism symptoms could reduce or even disappear completely. While drugs such as levodopa for treating Parkinson’s disease are not always very effective in people who suffer from Parkinsonism, at times they can offer significant improvement. The cause of Parkinsonism is always treated or corrected whenever possible meaning if the main cause is a drug, then cessation of using the drugs can significantly cure the condition. If the symptoms persist then drugs can be used.