Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease are two medical conditions, which are often mistaken for each other, as both are progressive and have similar symptoms. And although patients can have both conditions simultaneously, there are a few striking differences between the two.
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.
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.
Similarities between the two conditions
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. The two conditions have several common symptoms, including
- Slurred speech
- Poor coordination and balance
- 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
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
- Depression and anxiety
Differences between the two conditions
Although Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease have some similarities, they also have a few major differences between them, such as:
- 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.
- Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the immune system starts attacking and destroying the myelin coating around nerve fibers. Parkinson’s Disease occurs when the brain produces in small amounts a hormone called dopamine that controls movement. This may occur due to a genetic predisposition or exposure to certain toxic chemicals.
- Multiple Sclerosis has a few unique symptoms that do not show up in Parkinson’s Disease, such as dizziness, double vision, tingling sensations in the body, hearing loss, seizures, and others. Parkinson’s Disease also has a few unique symptoms, such as dragging of feet, slowing of movement (bradykinesia), poor posture, loss of control over movements like blinking or smiling, and others.
- Some studies suggest that having Multiple Sclerosis could lead to a higher risk of Parkinson’s Disease later on. This is due to inflammation triggered by Multiple Sclerosis that could create lesions in the brain, which affects the way it produces dopamine. However, the reverse has not been proven yet.
While it can be easy to mistake the signs of Parkinson’s Disease for Multiple Sclerosis and vice versa, the two are very different conditions with their unique treatment programs. Getting a timely diagnosis and the best Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis treatment can lead to early intervention and better restoration of functionality.