Parkinson’s Awareness Week
This week is Parkinson’s Awareness Week when our branch along with most other branches attempts to make the general public more aware of the condition with the hope of raising funds towards research. However, the Chairman of our branch has been taken ill and as his wife is our secretary our branch has not got anything planned for this week. So, I thought I would use the good offices of this site to contribute in my own small way to raising awareness of the condition.
Parkinson’s is a neurological condition which occurs as a result of a loss of nerve cells in the substantia nigra part of the brain. These cells are responsible for producing the chemical dopamine, which allows messages to be sent to the parts of the brain that co-ordinate movement. Unfortunately almost eighty percent of these cells are destroyed before symptoms first appear. There are two main drugs used to treat the condition one is levadopa which, as I understand it, is a natural amino acid that the brain converts into dopamine, replacing the missing chemical. However, this drug has a side effect called dskynesia which I have. Someone was having a right laugh when whoever it was gave the researchers this little gem because dyskynesias cause … involuntary movement! LOL.
The other drug is one that stimulates the parts of the brain where dopamine works and mimics its function but this too has some unpleasant side effects. With this second drug a particularly nasty effect is one that can, in a very few cases, cause a type of obsessive, compulsive behaviour characterised by excessive spending, gambling and hypersexuality. I often think to myself that one would need this last symptom to earn a few bob in order to finance the first two. I’m sorry, please forgive me, I know it’s not funny but I have to see the funny side of things it’s just my way of coping with anything unpleasant. However, I know it is far from a laughing matter for the people affected by this behaviour as some have lost their homes their families and their self worth.
Incidentally, both these drugs lose effectiveness over time and that is when a sufferer is considered to be in the later stages. I know many people suffering from some illness or disability will say something to the effect that one shouldn’t grumble as there are always people worse off than oneself. I’m sorry but I cannot find a scrap of comfort in that assertion because I don’t want anyone to be worse off than me, I want them to be better off, if that makes any sense. Anyway, as far as neurological conditions are concerned I think Motor Neurone, Multiple Sclerosis and Huntingdon’s are probably worse, in my opinion, than Parkinson’s, not that the reader should think that this is in any way a recommendation! However, I think that is enough for today but tomorrow, I will try to explain how the condition has affected me and my family.
To be continued