Common signs of Parkinson’s disease that are widely known are tremors, muscle rigidity, and impaired mobility. However, Parkinson’s disease also causes bowel problems, constipation, and sleepwalking. If these symptoms occur, seek medical care immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Dr. Natlada Limotai, a neurologist at Vejthani Hospital, explains that Parkinson’s disease is caused by brain degeneration, which reduces the production of a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine is primarily responsible for controlling mobility, cognitive functions, and regulating emotions.
Parkinson’s disease has specific motor symptoms, such as tremors, muscle rigidity, slow movements, gait abnormalities, balance problems, and falling. The disease may also cause some non-motor symptoms, which prevents the patients from realizing that Parkinson’s disease could also cause these symptoms. They include sleepwalking (which can sometimes psychically harm the person sleeping on the same bed) and bowel problems, especially constipation. These symptoms are commonly found in patients with Parkinson’s disease, especially older ones. Constipation may be caused by autonomic neuropathy that affects the large intestine, resulting in digestive problems. These may be preceding symptoms, which occur years before motor symptoms like tremors are found.
Some patients with Parkinson’s disease may not be aware of the symptoms as they think they are caused by aging. Leaving Parkinson’s disease untreated may put patients at various risks, including being prone to falling. Hence, if you experience any symptoms, seek proper diagnosis and treatment from medical specialists.
The treatment process starts with medications that replenish dopamine levels in the brain. The medications are available in many forms, including oral medications, patches, and injections. Research shows that patients with Parkinson’s disease have a response rate of 70–100% to medications, allowing them to regain their everyday lifestyles. The correct way to take the medicines is on an empty stomach for the maximum benefit. They can be taken at least half an hour before or one hour after a meal. If the medicines are taken shortly before or after a meal, especially high in protein meals like meat and milk, the body’s ability to absorb the medicines will decrease, or sometimes they may not work at all. It is also essential to take the correct dosage of drugs and at a frequency as specified by the doctor. It will prevent inconsistency in response to medications that may occur earlier than they should.
When the response to medications decreases compared to the initial stage of the treatment and becomes inconsistent, the doctor may consider deep brain stimulation. The surgery involves implanting electrodes in specific parts of the brain, and electrical impulses are used to control abnormal brain activity. This improves patients’ mobility and helps them carry out everyday tasks more effectively.
Apart from treating Parkinson’s disease with medications or surgery, maintaining general health is equally important. Exercises include walking, cycling, or indoor physical activities are recommended. Sufficient calorie and protein intake can promote muscle strength while consuming fruits and vegetables can aid healthy bowel movements.
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