Materia Medica Malaysiana

April 23, 2007

Parkinson’s patients being sent to psychiatrists instead

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:02 am

Star: PETALING JAYA: Some Parkinson’s Disease (PD) patients have been misdiagnosed as suffering from depression and were referred to psychiatrists, said a neurologist.
“We have to teach the public that the moment they have tremors, they have to think about PD.
“Patients suffering from depression may have slower movements but not tremors,” said Dr Chew Nee Kong at the Red Tulip campaign on World Parkinson’s Disease Day recently.
He said some had also been sent to heart specialists because of their difficulty in breathing and to bone specialists because they had body aches.
“As a result of the non-specific nature of the disease, coupled with the lack of specialists and public awareness, diagnosis can be a challenge and delayed,” he said.
Symptoms of PD include the slowing down in speech and body movements, softening of voice and lacking in facial expression resembling ageing process.
Patients tend to think of these as a natural process and do not seek treatment, said Dr Chew.
PD is the result of a lack of dopomine, a biochemical substance that is needed for body movement.
Patients lack energy, have uncontrollable trembling of hands, sometimes of the head and jaw, and body stiffness.
“With newer medication and brain surgery, patients do not have to suffer anymore. PD patients can now lead normal lives for 15 to 20 years,” he said.
In 95% of PD cases, the cause was unknown while the other 5% were due to inherited genes or chemical substance in the environment, he said.

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