Depression may contribute to Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease occurs when neurons do not produce sufficient dopamine. This disease is considered as a chronic and progressive movement disease. People that suffer from this disease can’t control normal movement, levels of dopamine diminish and cells die or don’t work properly.
This disease is the second most frequent neurodegenerative condition after Alzheimer’s disease. This disease attacks approximately a 3% of the world population at 50 years old; that is between 4.1 and 4.6 million people, and it is more common on men than women. There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease but medication can help improve symptoms.
The most common and characteristic symptoms are:
- Agitation or shaking: can be manifested on hands, arms, legs, or jaw. These symptoms can start as light but can worsen with time. These are more noticeable when the person is at rest and it can affect one side of the body more than the other.
- Slow movements: this symptom is also progressive. It becomes noticeable when the person starts having problems when moving, movements become slowly when performing simple tasks like getting up from bed, buttoning a shirt, cutting food, etc.
- Stiff muscles: muscles on the body can become rigid and contracted, so it becomes difficult to move them and perform simple tasks like walking.
- Problems with posture and balance: the aforementioned symptoms can stop a person from standing or sitting correctly. It can also affect balance and can lead to falling and injury.
Other symptoms of a person with Parkinson’s disease can lead to:
- A less expressive face
- Sense of smell loss
- Mood disorders
- Excess of saliva
- Loss or gain weight
- Sight or dental problems
- Fatigue or energy loss
- Memory problems
Various researches mention that genetics is a risk factor on small groups of people, whether it is inherited by some relative or because of a gene mutation. Environmental factors also have a relevant role, exposure to certain toxins or pesticides can increase the risk of suffering this disease on the long run.
Depression is more common on patients with Parkinson’s disease than the general population. A study performed in 2018 analyzed if depression is associated with a higher risk of Parkinson’s disease; a bibliographical research, subgroup analysis and sensibility analysis was performed. This meta-analysis showed that people with depression presented a higher risk of Parkinson’s disease diagnosis. According to this finding, researchers hope that depression treatment reduces Parkinson’s disease subsequent incidence.
Joining a support group can be useful for patients with Parkinson’s disease. Health specialists recommend having a healthy diet, exercise, and stay active as much as possible. Aside from medication, exercise and physiotherapy can help control movements, and deep cerebral stimulation has been approved as part of treatment on various stages of this disease.
Reviewers: Brenda Giselle Alvarez Rodriguez (Public Health Research Unit) y Cassandra Saldaña Pineda (Knowledge Management Unit).
- Article: “Association between depression and the subsequent risk of Parkinson’s disease: A meta-analysis”. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. Volume 86, 30 August 2018, Pages 186-192
- American Academy of Family Physicians