Parkinson’s disease, which can have debilitating effects as it progresses, cannot be reversed but it can be controlled, asserted neurological experts during a Parkinson’s Unity Walk on Sunday.
The walk was organised by the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) at its cricket ground and sports and rehabilitation centre with the aim to create awareness about the disease. Hundreds of people suffering from the condition along with their families and caregivers participated in the walk, which began after a brief orientation session regarding the disease.
“We are here to spread awareness that the Parkinson’s is now treatable now due to the progress of medical science in last 10 to 20 years,” said assistant professor of neurology Dr Aziz Sonawalla while speaking to The Express Tribune.
According to him, around 500,000 people in Pakistan are affected by the condition and out of all neurological patients, 10% are affected by Parkinson’s disease. While imparting some good news, Dr Sonawalla said that deep brain stimulation surgery will be introduced at AKUH in September for patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
Dr Sonawalla suggested 40 minutes to 45 minutes of exercise to patients suffering from the condition. He said that no cause for Parkinson’s disease has been found yet, however, he added that the disease is caused by dopamine deficiency. According to him, the disease is chronic and a progressive movement disorder, which is caused due to the central nervous system being affected.
Speaking about the benefits of the new method of treating Parkinson’s patients, assistant professor of neurosurgery Dr Ehsan Bari said that surgery will be useful when the medication is no longer effective since it brings about motor symptoms and exacerbates them.
Dr Bari told The Express Tribune that the surgery, which will cost up to Rs3 million, will help patients improve and will have no negative side effects. According to him, this is the first time that this surgery is being introduced in any hospital in Karachi but this surgery has already been conducted at the Lahore General Hospital.
With the introduction of new technology and techniques, the survival rate of Parkinson’s disease will increase, said assistant professor of neurology at AKUH Dr Nadeem Memon. “Parkinson’s generally affects people above 60 years of age and, as the population of the country is increasing, so is the number of patients,” he said. Dr Memon added that just like patients of hypertension or diabetes, those suffering from Parkinson’s disease have to stay on medication for the rest of their lives.