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Parkinson’s Disease Management: A Comprehensive Guide for Patients and Caregivers

Written by Nishant Garund
Medically Reviewed by Dr.Varuni Agarwal

Dr. Varuni Agarwal is an esteemed Ayurvedic physician specializing in
diagnosing diseases through Ayurvedic dosha imbalances and providing personalized treatments. She focuses on ahara (diet) and vihara (lifestyle) to manage and heal various ailments.

Parkinson’s Disease Management: A Comprehensive Guide for Patients and Caregivers

Imagine reaching for a cup of coffee, but your hand trembles ever so slightly. Maybe you've noticed your walk isn't quite as springy as it used to be. These could be early signs of Parkinson's disease, a condition that affects millions worldwide. But a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease doesn't have to mean the end of an active life.

In the early stages of Parkinson's disease, your face may appear expressionless. Your arms might not move naturally when you walk. You might speak softly or with slurred words. As Parkinson's disease progresses, the symptoms will become more severe. There is currently no cure for Parkinson's disease, but medications can significantly improve the symptoms.


Parkinson's disease is a prevalent neurodegenerative disorder, ranking second among age-related conditions that cause brain degeneration. It's also the most common disease affecting movement. 

This disease is characterized by the degeneration of a specific region in the brain called the basal ganglia. As this area deteriorates, the functions it once controlled are progressively lost. Research has revealed a significant change in brain chemistry associated with Parkinson's disease.

Normally, the brain uses neurotransmitters, chemical messengers, to facilitate communication between brain cells (neurons). In Parkinson's disease, there's a deficiency of dopamine, a vital neurotransmitter. The lack of dopamine in Parkinson's disease leads to symptoms like slowed movements and tremors.

As the disease progresses, the symptoms become more pronounced and encompass a wider range of functions. In later stages, Parkinson's disease can affect cognitive function, leading to symptoms resembling dementia, and also contribute to depression.


Parkinson's encompasses a wider range of symptoms that can significantly impact a person's daily life. Let's delve deeper and understand these symptoms in detail.

Parkinson's disease symptoms Neetwellness

Movement-related Symptoms:

  • Tremor: This is the most well-known symptom, characterized by involuntary shaking or trembling. Tremors typically begin in one hand and may eventually progress to other limbs. The tremor is often described as a "pill-rolling" motion in the hands. 
  • Bradykinesia (Slowness of Movement):  This symptom manifests as a general slowness in movement. Simple tasks like getting dressed, buttoning a shirt, or writing can become significantly more time-consuming. Initiating movement can also be difficult.
  • Rigidity:  Muscle stiffness is another hallmark symptom of Parkinson's disease. This stiffness can affect any part of the body, making it difficult to move limbs freely and causing a sense of tightness. 
  • Postural Instability and Gait Problems:  Balance and coordination can be impaired in Parkinson's disease. This can lead to a stooped posture, a shuffling gait, and an increased risk of falls.  

Non-movement Symptoms:

While the movement-related symptoms are most prominent, Parkinson's disease can also manifest in non-movement-related ways. Here are some to watch for:

  • Speech Changes:  Speech may become softer, slurred, or monotone. People with Parkinson's may also experience difficulty speaking quickly or controlling their volume.
  • Fatigue:  Excessive tiredness and lack of energy are common complaints in Parkinson's disease. This fatigue can make it difficult to participate in daily activities.  
  • Sleep Problems:  Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing restless sleep during the night are frequent occurrences in Parkinson's. 
  • Cognitive Issues:  Thinking and memory problems can develop in the later stages of Parkinson's disease. This can range from mild forgetfulness to dementia.
  • Depression and Anxiety:  These are common emotional changes associated with Parkinson's disease. The limitations imposed by the disease and the fear of progression can contribute to these conditions.  

It's important to remember that Parkinson's disease affects everyone differently. The combination and severity of symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. Early diagnosis and proper management can significantly improve the quality of life for those living with Parkinson's disease.


The exact cause of Parkinson's disease remains under investigation, but scientific evidence points towards a combination of factors:

  • Neurodegeneration:  The defining feature of Parkinson's disease is the loss of nerve cells in a specific area of the brain called the substantia nigra. These nerve cells produce dopamine, a vital neurotransmitter responsible for smooth movement control.
  • Dopamine Deficiency:  As these dopamine-producing nerve cells degenerate, dopamine levels in the brain decline. This lack of dopamine disrupts the communication between brain cells, leading to the movement-related symptoms of Parkinson's disease. 
  • Genetics: While not the sole cause, certain genetic variations can increase the risk of developing Parkinson's disease. However, having these genetic markers doesn't guarantee the disease, and most cases have no clear family history.
  • Environmental Factors: Exposure to certain toxins or environmental factors may also play a role. Research suggests potential links between Parkinson's disease and herbicides, pesticides, or head injuries. However, more evidence is needed to confirm these connections.
  • Lewy Bodies: These abnormal protein clumps found in the brain cells are a hallmark of Parkinson's disease. The presence and spread of Lewy bodies are believed to contribute to the disease progression.

It's important to note that Parkinson's disease develops due to a complex interplay of these factors, and the exact cause for each individual might differ.


Treatment of parkinson's disease Neetwellness

There is currently no cure for Parkinson's disease, but various approaches can help manage its symptoms. The specific treatment plan will vary depending on individual needs and how well different therapies work. Here's an overview of the options:

Medications for direct treatment:

  •  Dopamine replacement: Medications like levodopa increase dopamine levels in the brain, often with significant effectiveness. Long-term use may lead to reduced effectiveness over time.
  •  Dopamine agonists: These drugs mimic dopamine's effects on brain cells. They are often used for younger patients to delay the need for levodopa.
  • Levodopa metabolism inhibitors: These medications slow the processing of levodopa, extending its effectiveness. Careful use is needed due to potential side effects.
  • Adenosine blockers: These drugs can provide supportive effects when used alongside levodopa.
  • Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS): In this surgical procedure, an implanted device delivers mild electrical currents to specific brain regions. DBS offers a reversible alternative to older surgical methods that intentionally damage brain tissue. It's often considered when levodopa becomes less effective or for tremors unresponsive to medications.

Experimental Treatments: 

Researchers are exploring various promising therapies, including:

  • Stem cell transplants: These aim to introduce new dopamine-producing neurons into the brain to replace damaged ones.
  • Neuron-repair treatments: These therapies focus on repairing or regenerating damaged neurons.
  • Gene therapies: These approaches target specific genetic mutations that contribute to Parkinson's disease. Some may also enhance the effectiveness of existing treatments.

Remember, this information provides a general overview. It's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized treatment advice.


There are no proven ways to prevent Parkinson's disease.  However, with ongoing research about the prevention of it, there have been recommendations that regular aerobic exercise might help with it. There’s also a suggestion that people who drink caffeine more are less likely to get the disease than those who don't. However, there isn't enough substantial research to back this up.

Living Well with Parkinson's Disease

Living well with parkinson's disease

Parkinson's disease requires ongoing management, but there are steps you can take to feel your best. Here's how to take an active role in your care:

  • Follow Your Doctor's Instructions: Taking medications as prescribed is crucial.  Discuss any side effects or reduced effectiveness with your doctor.
  • Regular Appointments: Maintain a regular schedule of doctor visits to monitor your condition and adjust medications as needed.
  • Monitor Symptoms: Don't ignore changes in your symptoms.  Early intervention can make a significant impact.
  • Schedule Adjustments: If you experience changes in symptoms or medication effectiveness, consult your doctor. Adjustments can significantly improve your quality of life.

Remember, you're not alone in this journey. By working closely with your doctor and taking an active approach to your health, you can manage Parkinson's and live a fulfilling life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.1 Can a person with Parkinson's live a normal life?

Yes, they can live a normal life due to treatable symptoms, staying active, normal lifespan and advancements in care. 

Q.2 Is Parkinson’s contagious? 

No, Parkinson’s isn’t contagious and you can’t contract it from another person.

Q.3 What causes Parkinson’s? 

There are several risk factors associated with it however, the only confirmed cause for it is genetics. 

Q.4 How can I prevent it? 

As the disease is unpredictable, it isn’t preventable. Neither the risk of developing it can be reduced. 

Q.5 How long does it last? 

The disease isn’t curable, which means it is permanent.