The Parkinson's Disease in Children
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Concerning the health of an individual, there are certain diseases that can be either alarming or not. There are sicknesses that come with high level of risks; there are those which are not very much troublesome, and are still capable of being treated at the shortest time possible. But there is also an unmistakable reality, that the particular sicknesses are predominant in all ages. Besides, this also includes some highly risky diseases that do not only apply to people of old age but to children as well. The Parkinson’s disease, for instance, is an intense disease that is common to all. Through research, it is said that Parkinson’s disease occurs in about 1% of persons aging 60 years old; about 4% of those aging 80 years old. Although, this disease is most common among adults, there are phenomena which are called the early-onset Parkinson’s disease – for 21 to 40 years old – and the juvenile-onset Parkinson’s disease – for less than age 21 – that exists (Heyn 1). In this sort of disease, nobody can assure that children are impossible to have it. It means that they are prone to have such thing that is with high level of health risk. Therefore, people – especially parents of those who have such disease – should have enough knowledge on the nature of the disease; the causes and effects of Parkinson’s disease; the symptoms that make it manifest in an individual; and the necessary treatment and diagnosis for it in order to have a correct response to such disease.
Of course this paper will not be able to research every aspect regarding such serious topic. Nevertheless, the nature of the disease should be well-known by every individual. Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the central nervous system characterized by tremor and marred muscular coordination of an individual. It is proved that it could be a gene-related disease. In the case of the Contursi family – residing in the Salerno province in Italy – Parkinson’s disease is said to have occurred among sixty of the family member – which is over five generations (Sharma, and Richman 52). Although this is very rare to every family, it only attests that such disease can be transferred to offspring even at an early age. Moreover, this disease can also be triggered by some environmental toxins like herbicides and pesticides. Therefore, looking at these small facts, scientists say that at this point of time, Parkinson’s disease is not preventable.
Looking at a glance, Parkinson’s disease is a disorder leading to progressive deterioration of motor function of the human body (Heyn 6). Symptoms and manifestations of this disorder are also evident among infected children. Primary symptoms include tremor. There are times when children are thought to be shaking only when they scared or feeling cold, but the reason could be the effect of Parkinson’s disease upon them. This symptom occurs not when an infected person is having an activity, but during the time he/she is having rest. Another symptom is rigidity of the body. This is often revealed when children are eating, wherein they find it hard to move their hands to eat. Also, this symptom may have a hurting effect on the body of the infected person, causing muscle pains. Another symptom is slowness in voluntary body movements. Slow walking could be a sign a person is infected with this disease. This can also be manifested in the face of a person, wherein it often shows expressionless appearance. Another symptom is instability; wherein the infected person often shows improper balance in his/her posture. Lastly, this disease can be manifested through gait. This is a shuffling walking manner with a stooped position and without arm swing (Heyn 3). However, concerning the Juvenile Parkinson Disease – the category for infected children – it shares some of the clinical, pathological and pharmacological properties of adult Parkinson’s disease, but not all of it (David 238). As discussed earlier, the disease is most common in people of older age; higher risk of the effects of the disease is commonly applied to them. Nevertheless, the latter symptoms discussed are evident among infected children as well. Therefore, if there is any among those discussed above that became evident in a child, it could be a sign of having the Parkinson’s disease.
In conclusion, treatment of the Parkinson’s disease however, is currently not available for any infected individual. Yet there are treatments that can be used to delay the onset of the motor symptoms (Heyn 5). Unfortunately, this kind of treatment is very expensive. The typical amount a person may need to undergo treatment is $6000 or more for a year. Levodopa (sinemet) is the most effective therapy, according to the research conducted. Since the main problem in this disease is in the central nervous system, levodopa is converted to dopamine, which is essential for having proper functioning of the central nervous system. For those with advanced motor symptoms (although this is very rare for infected children), surgery may be an option (Heyn 5). In deep brain simulation (DBS), the surgeon will implant electrodes upon the brain to energize areas involved in the functioning of the brain system. Currently, there are more approaches scientists are studying, hoping that there will be the ways to prevent such disease. Nevertheless, due to the reality that Parkinson’s disease cannot be prevented at all, parents are just suggested to be understanding to their infected children. Parkinson’s disease is dangerous even to children, and the symptoms of such disease are very difficult for them to experience. If there will be means to have the treatments discussed above, then it must be so while the symptoms of the disease has not yet worsen much.