World Parkinson Awareness Week
“Everyday more than 100 people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in Pakistan and an estimated 6 million people worldwide are suffering from this disease,” revealed leading neurologists in a press briefing to mark World Parkinson’s Awareness Week. Awareness drive was supported by GSK Pakistan.
Dr. Shahid Mustafa, Neurologist at AKUH said “Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a movement disorder. In people with PD, a vital chemical in the brain called dopamine is gradually reduced. It progresses slowly and brings on symptoms of tremor, slowness in movement, stiff limbs, and walking or balance problems. Moreover, there is no definitive test to detect Parkinson’s disease or Parkinsonism. For diagnosis, doctors take a thorough medical history and may request a number of movement tests.”
Dr. Shahid added, “Numerous studies concluded that approximately 5% of patients have an onset before the age of 50 years and 2% of those aged 65 years and above. The average age of diagnosis is around 60, but approximately 15% of people with Parkinson’s are diagnosed before age 50 and are said to have young-onset Parkinson’s disease.” A number of researchers have found that increased risk of developing disease is 1.5 to 2-fold in males as compared to females but other studies have however reported no gender differences,” he added.
Many treatments can reduce the symptoms and improve quality of life. Patients need to know that the disease will not be cured completely, but, disease progress can be slowed with medications.
While stressing on all the stakeholders for joints efforts Dr. M. Wasay, Professor of Neurology at AKUH added that it will direct people towards getting an early diagnosis and treatment that can slow the progression of symptoms. We should play our role to the community to spread awareness about Parkinson’s Disease.
Talking about the causes of PD he said, “The cause of PD is still unknown. Researchers think that both genes and environment may play a role. The disorder is due to a loss of nerve cells in an area deep within the brain called the substantia nigra. This area produces the chemical dopamine. Dopamine helps send signals within the brain.