There is a numerous amount of diseases that appear to be incurable or unsolvable mysteries. Many diseases can go undetected for years and can flare up at any given moment, but modern medicine is slowly discovering new solutions for this problem. However, Parkinson’s disease is very popular, but are still extremely misunderstood. Recent studies have shown that “approximately 500,000 Americans are diagnosed with PD, but given that many individuals go undiagnosed or are misdiagnosed the actual number is likely much higher. Some experts estimate that as many as 1 million Americans have PD. Of course, given the progressive nature of the disabilities associated with PD, the disease affects thousands more wives, husbands, children, and other caregivers”. These recent studies have shown that Parkinson’s disease is constantly growing in numbers larger than ever before. However, Parkinson’s disease is very difficult for doctors to diagnose. In fact, even the most trained professionals are confused as to how the Parkinson’s disease is formed. The difficulty for diagnosing this disease is decreased because the “PD disease processes begin well before people start exhibiting motor symptoms. This is the preclinical phase of the disease. During this phase people may experience a range of nonspecific, non-motor symptoms such as hyposmia, depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. People may also experience disturbances of the autonomic nervous system that manifest as problems with digestion, respiration, salivation as well as excessive sweating, bladder dysfunction, or sexual dysfunction”. Basically, Parkinson’s disease is a health condition that slowly deteriorates the quality of life for the individuals that carry the disease. However, beyond these challenges, a silver lining could someday be discovered.
Day to day living with Parkinson’s and challenges.
One of the first challenges that individuals with Parkinson’s face, is the challenge of getting their condition diagnosed. Parkinson’s disease attacks slowly and without much warning, as many of the individuals with the condition understand. Before diagnosis, the physical breakdown of an individual’s body can be too much for one person to handle. In fact, “PD’s effects on the central nervous system are both chronic (meaning they persist) and progressive (meaning the symptoms grow worse over time). By the time a diagnosis is made, PD has typically already progressed to a point where people have difficulty controlling the movement of their bodies due to tremors (involuntary shaking), bradykinesia (slowness of movement and reflexes), stiffness in their limbs or the trunk of their body, and impaired balance. As these symptoms progress, walking, talking, swallowing, and completing other simple tasks can become challenging”. The challenges of Parkinson’s disease can often be overlooked because of its seemingly common symptoms. In some instances, Parkinson’s disease can be completely misdiagnosed as arthritis or another, more popular chronic illness. However, there are some remedies to for the common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. One treatment known as, “deep brain stimulation (DBS) can reduce tremor, rigidity, stiffness, and improve movement. However, much work remains to be done. Despite their many successes, these therapies have limitations. There is no currently available therapy that slows the progression of the underlying disease or adequately relieves the wide range of symptoms in people with more advanced PD”. Parkinson’s can be treated to ease discomfort and this is a positive note in the Parkinson’s disease community. Even so, the researchers for Parkinson’s disorder are still very far from finding a cure.
The Unfulfilled promises
As a result of there not being much evidence towards finding a cure, the monetary cost for fighting Parkinson’s disease has increased. Furthermore, the amount of undiagnosed Parkinson’s disease patients increases annual. The increase of this disease population causes an increase in national spending for Parkinson’s disease. Statistics have shown that “in the United States alone, the cost of treating PD is estimated to be $14 billion annually. Indirect costs, such as those associated with the loss of productivity, are conservatively estimated to total $6.3 billion each year. As the U.S. population ages, these figures are expected to rise rapidly. The number of people diagnosed with PD in the United States is expected to double by 2040”. The Parkinson’s disease itself predominantly attacks elderly individuals because of their weaker nervous systems. The increase of Parkinson’s spending appears to be a sign towards discovering a cure for this disease. However, in reality, this figure is an indication of a larger problem. This problem would be the absence of a functional Parkinson’s diagnostic and treatment methods. Furthermore, “in addition to new therapeutic options, better diagnostic tools are needed to identify PD earlier in the course of the disease. By the time a person exhibits classic motor symptoms and is diagnosed with PD, substantial and widespread loss of brain cells and functions of the brain and autonomic nervous system have already occurred. Earlier diagnosis may provide a therapeutic window to slow or prevent the progression of PD prior to the onset of motor impairments”. Early diagnosis is the best possible option for an individual with Parkinson’s disease. Hopefully, with further research and study, a more effective treatment may be produced. Other studies have shown that researchers and scientists are growing closer to uncovering the root of the issue known as Parkinson’s disease. Because of the increased awareness towards this disease, researches have been looking at the Parkinson’s disease from a different angle. On that note, “researchers increasingly believe that most, if not all, cases of PD probably involve both a genetic and environmental component. Early-onset Parkinson’s disease is relatively rare and is more likely to be influenced by genetic factors than the forms of the disease that develop later in life”. Of course there is a variation between these two instances of Parkinson’s disease, but there is still some merit in this hypothesis. Essentially, the genesis of Parkinson’s disease needs to be discovered if a cure is ever to be found. Based on the information provided by experienced researchers in the field of Parkinson’s treatment, the hopes of finding are cure are more attainable than ever.
For the current victims of Parkinson’s disease, there is a small window of hope for finding a cure for the illness. Overtime, the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease will overtake the individual that has contracted it. Generally, the effects of the Parkinson’s disease do not set into the body until the individual with the disease reaches an elderly age. As the victims of the Parkinson’s disease get older, the disease is known to be the cause of other serious, more fatal health conditions. In fact, “many people with PD eventually develop dementia, but the time from the onset of movement symptoms to the onset of dementia symptoms varies greatly from person to person. Dementia is a leading reason for people with PD to transition from independent living at home to long-term care facilities”. Parkinson’s disease is not just a widespread illness, it is an ongoing battle for normality. Even by itself, the thought of gradually losing one’s motor skills can be a large burden to carry. Currently, the treatment methods for Parkinson’s disease are not entirely effective, yet these treatments are useful in the temporary sense. Since Parkinson’s disease eats away at the central nervous system of the individuals that possess the disease, there is only so much time before the condition finally eliminates its victim. However, studies are showing a change in how the Parkinson’s disease will be treated, and eventually, cured.