PARKINSON’S DISEASE OVERVIEW
JE ME FORME
Professeur d’anglais aux Ifsi de Nancy auteur de Maîtriser l’anglais médical, L’Anglais médical pratique et L’Anglais en ergothérapie, éditions Lamarre
A staff nurse (SN) is explaining to a trainee nurse (TN) the causes, symptoms and treatments of Parkinson’s disease (PD).
SN : I guess you know that PD is a premature, slow, progressive and definite degeneration of the dopaminergic neurons of the locus niger, i.e., the black matter, which is an area of the midbrain named for its melanin-rich cells. At the beginning of the pathology, there is an imbalance between the deficient dopaminergic system and the functional cholinergic system, which thus appears hyperactive, and which explains certain disorders.
TN : Oh, this is a bit unclear to me!
SN : Ok, well, to put it simply, this brain disorder appears on average at the age of 58 and is more prevalent in men than in women. It is the second cause of motor disability in the elderly after strokes and causes unvoluntary and uncontrollable movements and difficulty with balance and coordination. Symptoms usually begin gradually and worsen over time. As the disease progresses, people may have difficulty walking and talking.
TN : And how can this illness be diagnosed?
SN : Essentially, the clinical diagnosis is based on the presence of at least two of the three characteristic motor signs: akinesia and rest tremor, i.e., the loss of ability to move your muscles voluntarily, and/or extrapyramidal hypertonia, i.e., involuntary intermittent muscle contractions that cause twisting or repetitive movements of abnormal postures, associated with speech disorders, fatigue, pain, and even mental and behavioral changes, sleep problems, depression, and memory difficulties.
TN : What about treatment or care for this disease?
SN : As PD is neurodegenerative, there’s no cure for it. Therefore, we’d more aim at proposing symptomatic treatments the objective of which is to amend motor disorders.
TN : Do you mean medicine that stops trembling?
SN : As I’ve just said, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. However, medicines, surgical treatment, and other therapies can often relieve some symptoms. For example, they can increase the level of dopamine in the brain, help in behavioral changes, sleep problems, depression, memory difficulties, and fatigue.
TN : But are there other therapies that may help manage Parkinson’s symptoms?
SN : Sure, there are non-pharmacological methods like physical, occupational, and speech therapies, which may help with gait and voice disorders, tremors and rigidity, and decline in mental functions. Also, a healthy diet to support overall wellness can be helpful, as well as strengthening exercises to tone up muscles and enhance balance, flexibility, and coordination. Massage therapy, yoga and tai chi can also help reduce tension and increase stretching and flexibility.
TN : And what about support for family caregivers or significant others?
SN : It can be hard to cope with Parkinson’s as a family caregiver. Therefore, we can also suggest that the patient and the significant other participate in social activities with friends. Support groups can help cope with inherent difficulties in that they provide information and advice.
Troubles de la parole
Problèmes de sommeil
Exercices de renforcement musculaire
Parkinson’s disease is a premature, slow, progressive and definite degeneration of the dopaminergic neurons of the locus niger.
→ La maladie de Parkinson est une dégénérescence prématurée, lente, progressive et définitive des neurones dopaminergiques du locus niger.
This brain disorder appears on average at the age of 58 and is more prevalent in men than in women.
→ Ce trouble cérébral apparaît en moyenne à l’âge de 58 ans et est plus répandu chez les hommes que chez les femmes.
Symptoms usually begin gradually and worsen over time, and as the disease progresses, people may have difficulty walking and talking.
→ Les symptômes commencent généralement de manière progressive et s’aggravent avec le temps. Au fur et à mesure que la maladie progresse, les personnes peuvent avoir des difficultés à marcher et à parler.
Although there’s no cure for Parkinson’s, medicines, surgical treatment and other therapies can often relieve some symptoms: they can increase the level of dopamine in the brain, help in behavioral changes, depression, memory difficulties, etc.
→ Bien qu’il n’existe pas de traitement pour la maladie de Parkinson, les médicaments, traitements chirurgicaux et autres thérapies peuvent souvent soulager certains symptômes : ils peuvent augmenter le niveau de dopamine dans le cerveau, aider aux changements de comportement, à la dépression, aux difficultés de mémoire, etc.