September 17, 2009

Dealing with Parkinson's Disease

My father-in-law was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. According to Wikipedia, Parkinson's disease (also known as Parkinson disease or PD) is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that often impairs the sufferer's motor skills, speech, and other functions. Parkinson's disease belongs to a group of conditions called movement disorders. It is characterized by muscle rigidity, tremor, a slowing of physical movement (bradykinesia) and, in extreme cases, a loss of physical movement (akinesia). The primary symptoms are the results of decreased stimulation of the motor cortex by the basal ganglia, normally caused by the insufficient formation and action of dopamine, which is produced in the dopaminergic neurons of the brain. Secondary symptoms may include high level cognitive dysfunction and subtle language problems. PD is both chronic and progressive. One of the risks that one has to watch out for when it occurs is that the sufferer might fall and experience fall-related injuries during rigidity episodes. My father-in-law has had a few episodes during his last visit and he and my mother-in-law are seriously considering purchasing a wheel chair to avoid that risk. A doctor friend of ours suggested that there are stores that sell medical equipment in Bambang and we might probably find a good deal on wheel chairs there. We might go there one of these days to check it out for them. Hopefully, we can find one that will suit his needs.