The types of dyskinesia
The causes of dyskinesia vary but most cases are due to altered brain chemistry. Dyskinesia is caused due to medication and injury or trauma to the region of the brain known as the basal ganglia. Brain damage is also a major cause when it comes to dyskinesia. The basal ganglia is the region where voluntary movements are learned and controlled. This article examines the types of dyskinesia.
A high number of people, around 50% of patients with Parkinson’s who are being treated with levodopa, develop dyskinesia. Levodopa alters the dopamine levels in the brain, and this rise and fall of dopamine levels causes dyskinesia. The common symptoms of dyskinesia are fidgeting, head bobbing, swaying of the body, wriggling, and writhing. About half of the people who develop dyskinesia do not find the need to seek help and may continue to live healthy lives as the condition is mild and poses no challenge.
Rhythmic movements are used to classify tremors. Some of the familiar types are:
- Resting or static tremors wherein tremors occur on a limb that is completely supported and is relaxed. These tremors may be associated with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) or Parkinson’s.
- Action and intention or kinetic tremors occur when the muscle is in motion and is normally seen during movement of an upper-body part, which includes the hand or the arm. Doctors usually attribute these tremors to MS, cerebral degeneration, vascular diseases, or a tumor. Tests are conducted to reveal the cause.
- Postural tremors occur when the muscle is not being moved but continue after it is moved. They are the result of alcohol abuse, heavy metal poisoning, and other physiological factors. Sometimes they may be caused by abusing antidepressants. Neurological conditions like Wilson’s disease have also been associated with tremors of this sort.
Dystonia is characterized by abnormal twisting of the body and is defined as sustained muscle contractions that may involve repetitive movements and postures. Blepharospasms are another common side effect of this condition and people have also reported continuous blinking as one of their symptoms. Writer’s cramp is also common and is the inability to write due to abnormal hand posture.
Chorea includes sudden jerky movements that are involuntary and cannot be controlled. The movements are held for a few seconds. It affects the hands, legs, and the head. The symptoms are known to affect a particular side of the body or they could alternate between both sides. Chorea is the outcome of some medications including:
- Antiepileptic medication
- Antipsychotic medication
- Parkinson’s disease medication
Chorea may also be acquired due to lupus, AIDS, HIV, meningitis, encephalitis, Lyme disease, pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy, or a host of other conditions.
Antipsychotic medications are the main cause of tardive dyskinesia. These medicines are used to treat mental conditions like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The alteration in the dopamine levels may lead to stiff and jerky movements. The dopamine that is essentially blocked may affect communication between the cells. This leads to the onset of the condition.