Condition: Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a condition that affects the nerves in the brain that help in co-ordinating muscle movements.

This presents as a slowing of movement, muscle stiffness, and shaking (tremor). As a result people with Parkinson’s disease may have difficultly performing daily activities.

1 in 350 UK adults is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease

The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease typically affect one side of the body in the early stages. These include:

  • Slow movement – this can include difficulty with fine movement or reduced facial expression;
  • Muscle stiffness;
  • Tremor at rest – typically improved on moving or with concentration.

Some other symptoms may develop as the condition worsens:

  • Bladder incontinence;
  • Hallucinations;
  • Poor sleep (insomnia);
  • Depression and anxiety.

Parkinson’s disease refers to the presence of movement symptoms secondary to the loss of dopamine-containing cells in a part of the brain called the basal ganglia. People may be affected by similar problems caused by different conditions.

The exact cause is unknown but up to 20% of people with Parkinson’s disease have a relative with the condition.

Parkinson’s disease is diagnosed from speaking to a patient to understand their symptoms in full and is usually made by a specialist doctor. There is no test to determine Parkinson’s disease, however sometimes a scan of the brain may be carried out to help with making a diagnosis.

Parkinson’s Disease Treatment

As Parkinson’s disease is caused by a reduction in dopamine-containing cells in the part of the brain called the basal ganglia, medications are used to try and increase dopamine signalling in the brain.

Three classes of medications are used in treating early stages of Parkinson’s disease – dopamine agonists (e.g. ropinirole, rotigotine), levodopa or monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B) inhibitors (e.g. selegiline).

Other medications (e.g. entacapone) are commonly used to prevent the breakdown of levodopa by the body.

Medicinal cannabis can be considered when first line therapies have not achieved adequate benefit in improving movement problems in Parkinson’s disease.

Arrange a Referral

At Sapphire London we operate on a doctor to doctor referral basis. We accept referrals from GP’s and consultants. This is to ensure that the patient’s condition has been fully assessed by a qualified physician and all other treatment options have been attempted.

For doctors to refer a patient to us, please click here to fill and securely submit a referral form.

For patients, please complete our assisted referral form by clicking here

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