The number of people in the world with Parkinson’s disease will double by 2030, according to Dr Sarwar Siddiqui, Consultant Neurologist, Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH). Though the cause of the disease is still not known, remarkable progress has been made to answer questions about this disorder of the central nervous system. What research has shown is that though Parkinson’s cannot be prevented or cured, it can be managed. A holistic approach including medication, physiotherapy and, if necessary, surgery can help people live almost normal lives.
Explaining the disease, Dr Mughis Sheerani, Consultant Neurologist, AKUH, said that the human brain produces a chemical, dopamine, which helps muscles move flexibly and smoothly, assisting in movement. In people with Parkinson’s, this part of the brain loses its ability to produce dopamine and a shortage of the chemical in the body leads to the symptoms of the disease. These include tremors when arms, hands and legs begin to shake, slow movement, stiffness and difficulty with balance. Most people develop Parkinson’s after the age of 60.
The impact of this disease on a patient and their family members is significant, as people with Parkinson’s often develop psychological conditions, such as depression, in addition to suffering from the muscular effects of the disease. Dr Nadir Ali Syed, Consultant Neurologist, AKUH has observed that Parkinson’s is not uncommon in Pakistan, and it is important that people become aware of its signs and symptoms so they can seek medical and psychological support to control it. To raise awareness about Parkinson’s disease and its management, and to share new information available, AKUH will hold a programme on World Parkinson’s Day at Aga Khan University Auditorium that is open to the
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