About 600,000 people suffer from Parkinson’s disease in Pakistan- Nadir Ali Syed

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 World Parkinson’s Day

About 600,000 people suffer from Parkinson’s
disease in Pakistan - Nadir Ali Syed

National Guidelines for the treatment and management
of PD are available - Dr. Naila Shahbaz

KARACHI: It is estimated that about 600,000 people suffer from this neurological disorder and unfortunately, half of these people are not aware that they have a serious neurological disease which can be treated and they can continue leading a normal life. This was stated by Dr.Nadir Ali Syed a noted consultant neurologist and President of Movement Disorder Society of Pakistan (MDSP) while addressing a press conference recently. Other experts who were present on this occasion included Prof. Dr. Shaukat Ali, Dr. Naila Shahbaz, Dr. Khalid Sher Dr. Abul Malik and Mr. Haroon Bashir.

It was further pointed out that this neurodegenerative disorder is spreading in the country at an alarming speed. According to Dr. Nadir Ali Syed, like many other non-communicable diseases, Parkinson’s disease is spreading at an alarming rate in Pakistan and it is feared that within next 14 years, number of patients would be doubled by 2030.  Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that progresses slowly in most people and slows down the movement of the person while his or her hands start shaking and trembling. Most people's symptoms take years to develop, and they live for years with the disease without any significant issue or problem.

Prof. Shaukat Ali along with Dr. Naila Shahbaz, Dr. Nadir Ali Syed, Dr. Khalid Sher,
Dr. Abul Malik and Mr. Haroon Bashir addressing a press conference
at Karachi Press Club on 4th March 2017 organized
by
Movement Disorder Society of Pakistan.

Speaking about the signs and symptoms of PD, Dr. Nadir Ali Syed said that a person gets Parkinson’s disease when his or her brain slowly stops producing a neurotransmitter called dopamine. With less and less dopamine, a person has less and less ability to regulate his or her movements, body and emotions, Dr. Syed said adding that although Parkinson’s was not a fatal disease, it could have serious complications for the patients resulting in death. Slowness in walking and other bodily movements, trembling of right or left hand and stiffness in the body were some of the early signs of the disease and added that environmental, genetic, lifestyle and pollutants were some of the factors and reasons behind causing Parkinson’s disease. This disease was largely under-diagnosed in Pakistan where not only common people but even many physicians were not aware of the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of the movement disorder, he added.

Dr. Naila Shahbaz said that although there is no complete cure available for the Parkinson’s disease, but most of the people with the neurological disorder could live an enjoyable and healthy life through identification of individual symptoms and determining a proper course of treatment. Emphasizing the need for creating awareness regarding the neurological disorders in Pakistan, she deplored that most of the physicians considered it to be an outcome of old age and were also not aware of the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and management of the neurological disease. National Guidelines for the treatment and management of Parkinson’s disease for Pakistani neurologists and physicians were prepared last year after it was found that majority of physicians were not aware of the specific symptoms, protocols for the diagnosis of the health condition as well as its treatment and management with the help of drugs available in the market.

Prof. Shaukat Ali  stated that number of qualified neurologists having adequate knowledge of Parkinson’s disease was also quite less in Pakistan as compared to the growing number of patients with this disease. Paying tribute to Parkinson’s Society of Pakistan (PSP) a patient of the disease Haroon Bashir, who supports newly diagnosed patients with Parkinson’s said that excessive use of pesticides, herbicides and insecticides in the agricultural sector was thought to be the main reason of this disease in Pakistan. Mr. Haroon Bashir, who is himself a Parkinson’s patient and striving for awareness about the disease for last many year, called for creating awareness about the mental disorder among common people through print and electronic media and urged the government to take steps for the training of neurologists as well as paramedical staff to help in providing care to people living with the neurological disorder. World Parkinson’s Day is observed on April 11 every year, which is also the birthday of Dr. James Parkinson and added that in Pakistan, their society and neurologists support patients with the disease and help them in living a normal and healthy life, he added.

Dr. Abdul Malik, urged the government to play its role in enhancing number of neurologists at teaching and district hospitals in the country because trained and qualified neurologists could properly diagnose and treat patients with neurological disorders including Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Khalid Sher said that surgical procedures including Deep Brain Stimulation had been introduced for the treatment of Parkinson’s patient in Lahore and hoped that soon these procedures would be introduced in Karachi. With the introduction of surgical procedure and medicines, quality of life of such patients would be improved to a large extent. (PR)

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