Some Serious Complications Of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that is characterized by various motor and non motor symptoms that can affect the ability to perform common daily activities. This disorder results from the gradual loss of brain cells that make and store dopamine. Dopamine is an important chemical in the brain and plays a role in controlling movement.

Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder that can be defined by four cardinal features of this disease:

  • Tremor at rest
  • Rigidity
  • Akinesia
  • Postural instability

While the exact cause of this disease is not known yet, but it is believed that various environmental and genetics play a role in the occurrence of this disease. Other risk factors that are associated with the development include head injury, advancing age, and exposure to toxins.

According to one of the researches, four to six people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease. And in the United States, approximately one million people are living with this disease. Parkinson’s disease is a serious disorder and the worst part is that it is associated with various other health conditions. Yes, patients having Parkinson’s disease are more likely to develop other health conditions as well. Some of the health problems are as follows:

Parkinson’s disease and cardiovascular disease

Although Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder and it primarily affects neuromuscular system, cardiovascular diseases are widely diagnosed in patients having Parkinson’s disease. Numerous studies suggest that people living with Parkinson’s disease are two times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular diseases are also known as heart disease and some diseases that are common in people suffering from Parkinson’s disease include heart valve problem, arrhythmia, heart attack, stroke.

Also Read: How Sleep Disorders Affect An Individual?

These conditions occur due to the narrowing and blockage of the blood vessels. There are four valve in the heart and these valves act as a guard and ensure that the blood cannot leak backward. The heart valve disease develops when the damage occurs to the valve and affects the flow of blood. Arrhythmia is a disease that is characterized by the abnormal heartbeat rhythm and it occurs due to changes in the heart’s electrical system. These diseases affect the pumping of the heart and as a result, it increases the risk of suffering from a stroke or heart attack.

Parkinson’s disease and Sleep disorders

Patients having Parkinson’s disease experience a wide range of symptoms and sleep dysfunction is one of the common complications that most of the patients with this disease experience. Many patients have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Sleep disturbance can be extensive in Parkinson’s disease, including constant sleepless nights and extreme exhaustion. Several sleep disorders that are associated with Parkinson’s disease include:

1. Insomnia – It is a condition which is characterized by difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep. Stiffness and slowness due to the Parkinson’s disease make it difficult for a person to get comfortable in bed. Sometimes, tremors also interfere with falling or staying asleep.

2. Hypersomnia – It is a condition which is characterized by excessive tiredness and daytime sleepiness. Trouble sleeping at night leads to the occurrence of this disease.

3. Rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder –  It is a condition which is characterized by a dream that allows a person to act out his or her dream such as kicking, punching or yelling during sleep. Rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder occurs when normal suppression of muscle activity is impaired and Parkinson’s disease can be the cause of this impairment.

4. Restless leg syndrome –  It is a condition which is characterized by uncomfortable sensations in the leg and it interferes with falling asleep at night. Various studies suggest that restless leg syndrome is a part of Parkinson’s disease itself.

Parkinson’s disease and sexual dysfunction

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder that affects the body’s sensory, autonomic and motor system and impairment of these systems are the main cause of sexual dysfunctions. A sexual response is controlled by the motor and autonomic nervous system. Also, the main cause of the occurrence of the Parkinson’s disease is a reduction in the production of chemical dopamine and dopamine is one of the chemicals that play a role in attaining erections

In men having Parkinson’s disease, erectile dysfunction, low libido, and premature ejaculation are some of the most common sexual dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction is defined as a condition in which attaining and maintaining a satisfied penile erection is a questionable aspect. A decline in the production of dopamine is one of the causes of erectile dysfunction in men with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is also associated with various psychological problems such as depression and behavioral disorders. As a result of these psychological disorders, a man experience low libido and these factors also play a role in developing erectile dysfunction.

Melanoma and Parkinson’s disease seems to be very different but numerous studies suggest that there is a relationship between the two. Many studies have indicated an association between the occurrence of cancer in patients with Parkinson’s Disease. Melanoma is one of the types of skin cancer that develops in the melanocytes and affects the skin when it is exposed to the sun. It is the most serious type of skin cancer as if it is left undetected, it is more likely to spread to other parts of the body.

Parkinson’s disease and Cancer

Melanomas are the major cause of premature deaths from cancer. Melanomas are characterized by the occurrence of moles that vary in looks. The occurrence of a new mole or changes in an existing mole are the first signs of this cancer.

Thyroid cancer is also common in patients having Parkinson’s disease. Thyroid cancer is more common in females as compared to the males. The thyroid is a gland that is located in the lower front of the neck and thyroid cancer occurs when the cells start to grow uncontrollably. Most often, thyroid cancer is characterized by the nodule or lump in the thyroid and usually, it does not cause any symptoms.

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Janet Fudge

Janet Fudge writes on general health topics for She holds a post-graduate diploma in Public Health with a major in epidemiology. During the outbreak of COVID-19, Janet actively volunteered in vaccination drives throughout the state of Iowa. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two children.