Stress in today’s times is the key to all form of physical exhaustion along with mental strain. It has been confirmed that extreme psychological stress like an instance of a holocaust has a definite association with Parkinson’s disease. Research studies with respect to ex-prisoners of war prove the presence of significant instance of having Parkinson’s disease after a long time of their release. Thus with the recent research and significant associations scientists and authors do speculate the importance of the role of stress in Parkinson’s disease.
What Happens To The Body At A Neural Level When Exposed To Uncontrollable Stress?
The mechanisms at the neural level due to stress may be quite alarming-
Nerve Degeneration: It has been seen that chronic stress can degenerate the nigrostriatal nerves. This is particularly common who cannot seem to work out their coping mechanisms.
HPA Hormones: Extreme amount of stress for prolonged period may lead to activation of the certain hormones like the HPA which eventually leads to inconsistent coping mechanisms.
Decreased Motor Abilities: These cases of stress related damages in the bodily activities like the striatal damage results in decreased motor abilities which is a major symptom of Parkinson’s disease.
High Levels of Glucocortisoles: Extreme levels of stress are seen to reduce the motor performance level due to high levels of glucocortisoles.
Loss of Nigral Neurons: Research studies have also proven that high levels of corticosterone may at times lead to loss of nigral neurons which may be permanent.
Decreased Dopamine Levels: Extreme stressful situations may also lead to a reduction in the secretion of dopamine. The decreased dopamine levels are responsible for bringing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease come to action.
Neurodegenerative Diseases: Stressful life events and situations characterized by extreme levels of stress bring the neurodegenerative diseases come into play, Parkinson’s disease being a major one in it.
What are the Underlying Mechanisms That May Work In The Stress Related Neural Degeneration?
Various regulatory T-lymphocytes are reduced due to the action of stress may be found in people with PTSD. This reduction is seen to be similar in patients with Parkinson’s disease, proving the link between stress and Parkinson’s disease.
Stress is seen to be associated with pro-inflammatory networks which lead to deregulated levels of HPA and this leads to increased amount of risks of having neurodegenerative disorders.
Are the Symptoms Of Stress Similar To Those Of Parkinson’s Disease?
Many a times, in order to explain situations of stress and anxiety one may use terms like ‘shaking in fear’ or ‘frozen in fear’. Such evidences stand evidence as the form of mimicry of some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. There are examples of reversible symptoms of Parkinsonism which were reported to occur during wars in Germany which mention of tremors manifested by many prisoners due to extreme exposure to stress. They were called by the name of war tremblers keeping in mind the incidence of war related to the symptoms.
Can Stress Continue Its Effect Once A Patient Is Diagnosed With Parkinson’s Disease?
Stress continues to affect a patient’s physical and mental health and acute stress level even after the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease may play a role in the speedy progression of the disease. Patients are seen to complain of experiencing increased amount of stress once they are diagnosed of Parkinson’s disease. Patients complain of experiencing stress from the thought of needing to go to the washroom. This occurs due to the difficulty from the patient’s part to accept the fate of reduced independency. However, it should be remembered that, stress in Parkinson’s disease id never beneficial. In fact is further deteriorates the condition of the patient, worsening the symptoms.