One woman’s pain of living with Parkinson’s disease for 12 years
Posted Monday, October 14 2013 at 00:00
Matilda Nakkazi, 53, is a mother of 10. She lives in Ggangu, in Makindye Sub County in Wakiso District.
For the past 12 years, however, she has been battling Parkinson’s disease, a neurological syndrome which characterised by constant shaking of the thumbs and fingers, and constant rigid muscles.
It is a disorder of the central nervous system, and this disease normally affects people who are over the age of 50. Nakkazi says she experiences persistent shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement and difficulty with walking.
Before a diagnosis was carried out at Mulago hospital, Nakkazi thought she had been bewitched since doctors had initially failed to diagnose her condition. “Before I came to Mulago hospital, I was using herbal medicine which did not work. Now I have got some relief,”explains Nakkazi. She is currently undergoing palliative care, which she says has relieved her of pain.
Dr Simon Peter Eyoku from Mulago hospital explains that Parkinson’s disease is a rare disease whose specific cause is not exactly known, although a few cases have been attributed to genetic factors. In Uganda, because it is a rare disease, it is not known how many people suffer from the condition.
Besides genetics, it is said that environmental factors also play a role in the development of Parkinson’s.
Dr Eyoku reveals that although there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, medications, surgery and palliative care can offer relief from some of the symptoms that are commonly associated with the condition.
For some patients, a drug called Levodopa can be used to manage symptoms, and in Uganda, it has so far been the most common drug used. Dr Eyoku adds that surgery is no longer commonly used in managing Parkinson’s disease.
Dr Eyoku however explains that Parkinson’s disease can be prevented if the affected persons drink caffeine, commonly found it coffee, tea and cola. Green tea also may reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
Dr Eyoku further explains that consuming foods rich in flavonoids, such as berries, apples, orange juice and red wine are also known to reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 35 per cent.
Research has also linked the development of Parkinson’s disease reduced oestrogen levels.
This may explain why menopausal women who do not take hormone replacement therapy are more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.
Nakkazi is currently receiving treatment at Mulago hospital, and says she has kept a strong faith in God, and believes that one day she will be healed of her condition.
For now she engages in regular exercise routines to keep fit and healthy.