Pandemic fallout: COVID-19 lockdown worsens Parkinson’s disease

In light of the World Parkinson’s Day on Sunday, Express speaks to experts on identifying the deterioration and the care needed.

Published: 11th April 2021 05:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th April 2021 11:36 AM   |  A+A-


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease of the brain.

Express News Service

CHENNAI: An unnoticed side effect of the pandemic and lockdown in urban spaces has been the steady deterioration of neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease among patients, since consistent physical activity is crucial to retard the disease progression.

In light of the World Parkinson’s Day on Sunday, Express speaks to experts on identifying the deterioration and the care needed.


Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a brain disorder that leads to shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with walking, balance, and coordination, common among the elderly.

It also results in patients frequently falling down and hurting themselves.

According to a study published recently by the Department of Neurology, Lady Hardinge Medical College and Associated Hospital, New Delhi, a deterioration of overall health of patients with Parkinson’s Disease was observed during the lockdown.

This includes worsening of motor symptoms like shaking and muscular coordination; and non-motor symptoms like fatigue, constipation, depression and anxiety.

“The increase in nonmotor symptoms was independently associated with poorer quality of life among patients with PD during the lockdown,” the study pointed out.

Gleneagles Global Health City’s Comprehensive Parkinson’s Disease Clinic senior consultant neurologist Dr Vikash Agarwal told Express that it is important for family members to be aware and address mental health issues that those with PD may experience now.

“The mental heal th changes, including depression, anxiety and apathy, can worsen their disorder, which in turn will worsen their mental health. It will spiral if not addressed urgently,” he said.

He added that when patients experience tremors and shaking, they should identify it as Parkinson’s Disease and visit a neurologist.

“But a lot of patients don’t have tremors also; they experience stiff joints and pain. Frequent falling down and sudden freezing of hands or legs during movement may also be a sign of the disease,” he said.

Speaking about the correlation with Covid, Apollo Hospitals consultant interventional neurologist Dr S Karthikeyan said that contrary to rumours, Covid does not lead to Parkinson’s Disease.

“The patient’s disorder may worsen. Covid-19, however causes other kinds of neurological problems among survivors.

PD patients who get Covid may become bedridden and hence the family members must ensure that the patients are vaccinated at the earliest. No adverse effect of vaccination on PD patients has been reported so far,” he added.

Despite the lockdown and fear of visiting public places, experts say, PD patients must at least walk on the terrace or inside homes for at least half an hour daily to retard the disease progression.


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