Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease are two neurodegenerative disorders, which are progressive and are often mistaken for each other. They have quite a few similarities as well as differences, and it is also possible for patients to have both the conditions simultaneously. For instance, Multiple Sclerosis disease treatment focuses on slowing the progression of the disease, while Parkinson’s Disease treatment focuses on managing the symptoms.

Check out this quick guide about the similarities and differences between the two conditions to help patients avail the best Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis treatment on time.

Understanding Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis

Parkinson’s Disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative conditions in the world. It primarily damages the dopamine-producing neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra. Trained or well-experienced neurologists can diagnose PD based on early signs and symptoms, which include tremors, issues with balancing, stiffness or rigidity in the torso, legs, or arms.

On the other hand, Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory condition of the central nervous system. It is an autoimmune demyelinating disease, which means the immune system mistakenly attacks normal tissues — in this case, the myelin, or protective covering around nerve fibers. This leaves scarred tissues or lesions in multiple areas, disrupting electrical impulses throughout the body. When the myelin sheath is damaged, nerve impulses slow or even stop, causing neurological problems.

Multiple Sclerosis typically affects patients between the ages of 20 and 50, whereas the symptoms of Parkinson’s usually show beyond the age of 60 and more. Furthermore, the outlook for Parkinson’s Disease treatment as well as Multiple Sclerosis treatment varies, since there is no definitive Parkinson’s Disease cure. While no single test can be used to diagnose both these conditions, PD focuses more on managing the symptoms and is known to not be reversible. Lifestyle changes, medications, and supportive therapies can always improve issues related to body movement.

Parkinson’s vs. Multiple Sclerosis

The signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease can be observed primarily in the tremors or rhythmic shaking of a limb, hand, or fingers, followed by slowed movement (bradykinesia), rigid muscles, impaired posture, and balance, along with loss of automatic movements. In fact, the most early symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease include changes in speech, writing, sleeping patterns, moving, walking, loss of smell, or constipation. Multiple Sclerosis, on the other hand, has a few unique symptoms such as dizziness, double vision, tingling sensations in the body, hearing loss, seizures, and others.

Here’s a brief look at some of the differences between Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis:

Symptoms:

Parkinson’s Disease symptoms can be observed in tremors, slow movements, muscle stiffness, and balance problems.

Multiple Sclerosis symptoms vary significantly and are unpredictable. They include fatigue, trouble with walking, and vision problems.

Causes

Parkinson’s Disease is caused due to a loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain, in addition to genetic and environmental factors.

Multiple Sclerosis causes include genetic and environmental factors. There is a loss of the myelin cells that surround the brain nerves and spinal cord, due to an autoimmune reaction.

Diagnosis

No single test can define the diagnosis for PD. It is clinically done by a doctor based on the signs and symptoms. A DaTscan may be used to show evidence of loss of dopamine-producing cells

No single test can define the diagnosis for MS. Diagnosis is primarily done by ruling out other potential conditions and examining the signs and symptoms.

Treatment

Parkinson’s Disease treatment includes medications to control the symptoms, along with lifestyle changes and therapies to improve movement.

Multiple Sclerosis treatment doesn’t need any therapy in particular, although therapies do help to manage the symptoms. Corticosteroids also help to control inflammation.

However, treatments like Stem Cell therapy and Occupational therapy are known to be viable options for PD as well as MS, and can help patients to improve skills, stay active in their daily life, and slow the progression of these diseases.

Can Parkinson’s be misdiagnosed as Multiple Sclerosis?

Both Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease affect the brain and the central nervous system, which leads to changes in the way you move, talk, and interact with the world. They can both affect a person’s physical and cognitive functioning, and typically have more severe physical effects that can be seen, particularly during the early stages of the diseases.

The symptoms of MS and PD are quite similar, and have several common symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty with walking and sleeping
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor coordination and balance issues
  • Shaky fingers, hands, or lips
  • Numbness or weakness in the limbs
  • Spastic limb movements
  • Loss of muscle control in first one side of the body and then the other
  • Urinary issues and loss of bowel control
  • Depression and anxiety

While it can be easy to mistake the signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease for Multiple Sclerosis and vice versa, it is important to remember that Parkinson’s Disease treatment and Multiple Sclerosis treatment can vary to a large extent. Even though Multiple sclerosis is a neurological disease caused by autoimmunity, recent research suggests that it is also associated with HLA-DR, and that the genetic variant associated with Parkinson’s disease is in the same region as the one associated with Multiple Sclerosis.

Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the immune system starts attacking and destroying the myelin coating around nerve fibers, whereas Parkinson’s Disease occurs when the brain produces small amounts of dopamine that control movement, due to a genetic predisposition or exposure to certain toxic chemicals. Getting a timely diagnosis and the best Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis treatment can lead to early intervention and better restoration of functionality.

While these neurological diseases primarily affect your brain and spinal cord, they have similar symptoms, even though they require different treatments. For a proper diagnosis, visit your family doctor or a neurologist. If you’re looking for a good neuro and Stem Cell Research centre in Bangalore or Hyderabad for neurorehabilitation, you should visit Dr Na’eem Sadiq.

Dr Na'eem Sadiq is a respected stem cell specialist at Plexus, and a prominent neurologist in Bangalore. He studied neurology and clinical neurophysiology in London, and worked with some of the most prestigious medical institutions in England, and the Middle East. He completed his MBBS at Bellary Government Medical College, and a postgraduate degree in psychiatry from NIMHANS in Bangalore.

Dr Na'eem has perfected his knowledge and expertise in Continuing medical education (CME), and training in tissue culture, Stem Cell Therapy, and neurology. Dr Na'eem Sadiq possesses an undying passion to improve people’s lives. This led to the creation of Plexus, a neuro and Stem Cell Research centre in Bangalore in neurosurgery, and neurorehabilitation.