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Juvenile Parkinson's: Everything You Need To Know

World Parkinson's day is observed on 11 April each year. You might be surprised to know that Parkinson's disease can affect kids as well. Read here to know all about it.

Juvenile Parkinsons: Everything You Need To Know

Juvenile Parkinson's is a chronic progressive condition that can affect kids

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. World Parkinson's day is observed on 11 April each year
  2. Parkinson's disease can affect kids too
  3. Family history of the disorder can also be a risk factor

World Parkinson's day is observed on 11 April each year. This day tries to create awareness about this condition. It is often believed that a condition like Parkinson's disease is limited only to elderly adults. Unfortunately, rarely though, the neurological condition can occur in children as well, as early as when they are six years of age. Known as Juvenile Parkinson's, chronic progressive condition comes with no cure and affects day-to-day functioning.

Juvenile Parkinson's: All about it


Symptoms of Juvenile Parkinson's

The symptoms of this condition remain constant for all age groups. However, the non-motor ones tend to appear sooner, and may even vary from case to case.

1. Constipation

2. Loss of smell

3. Depression

4. Anxiety

5. Bladder problems

6. Weight fluctuations

7. Fatigue

8. Excessive saliva production

9. Disturbed sleeping patters - Sleeping too much during the day and too less at night

Over time, resting tremors, rigidity, stooped posture, and balance problems may kick in.

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Juvenile Parkinson's can leads to depression in children
Photo Credit: iStock

Causes of Juvenile Parkinson's

The causes of Parkinson's continue to be unclear, irrespective of age group. However, certain genes are linked to Parkinson's disease, and to that end it is believed that gene mutation can be blamed for its early onset.

Another major cause of Parkinson's disease is lack of dopamine-producing cells. Dopamine coordinates between two brain areas - substantia nigra and corpus striatum - for controlled body movements. However, when there is a shortage of those cells, a crunch of this hormone kicks in, thereby resulting in impaired movements. While it is known that lack of dopamine results in Parkinson's, it still isn't as to why a shortage of cells occurs.

Experts believe that dysfunctional cellular processes, stress, and inflammation could be responsible for the same or it can be blamed on genetic and environmental factors.

Are you more likely to get Parkinson's disease?

Men are 1.5 times more likely to get Parkinson's disease as compared to women

Family history of the disorder can also be a risk factor

Suffering from a head trauma or exposure to toxins such as pesticides can also be a risk factor for Parkinson's disease

Living with Juvenile Parkinson's

Although Parkinson's disease does not differentiate much between younger and elderly patients, the former group of people have a comparatively smoother survival. The rate of progression continues to be slow over the years and problems like memory loss and prolonged confusion are not as prevalent.

Medical ways to ease your life through Parkinson's disease are:

1. Medicine

2. Physical therapy

3. Speech therapy

4. Neurosurgery (Deep brain stimulation)

Nevertheless, if you wish to ignore medication, introducing your child to certain lifestyle changes can also help with better management of Juvenile Parkinson's.

1. Switch to an antioxidant rich diet

2. Avoid consumption of dairy products

3. Yoga

4. Exercise

5. Pilates

6. Weight training

7. No-contact boxing

While the global burden of Parkinson's disease continues to pile on, we aim at saving the younger group of people and the elderly patients alike through medical and physical therapy.

This World Parkinson's day, let's take a pledge to make it a Parkinson's-free world.

(Dr. Anurag Saxena is HOD neurosurgery, HCMCT Manipal Hospitals Delhi)


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