parkinson's disease vs multiple sclerosis

Shocking Facts About Parkinson’s Disease Vs Multiple Sclerosis You Need to Know Now

In a world of ever-increasing neurological disorders, knowing the difference between them becomes crucial. While many neurological diseases sound similar, especially neurodegenerative disorders, the 2 often share many similarities and dissimilarities. Parkinson's disease and Multiple Sclerosis are both examples of neurodegenerative conditions. 

While the 2 share a few commonalities, the diseases differ in many ways. In this blog, we will look at the difference between Parkinson's disease vs Multiple Sclerosis.

Understanding Both Diseases

Parkinson's Disease (PD)

Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that primarily affects movement and causes other motor symptoms such as loss of muscle control. It occurs due to the degeneration of dopamine-producing neurons in the brain, specifically in the substantia nigra. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter essential for coordinating smooth and controlled muscle movements. As dopamine levels decrease, characteristic symptoms of PD emerge.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease where the immune system mistakenly attacks the protective myelin sheath surrounding nerve fibers in the central nervous system (CNS), which includes the spinal cord, the brain, and optic nerves. The myelin sheath is a fatty substance that surrounds and insulates nerve cells to help with their protection and transmission speed of signals. These attacks from the immune system disrupt nerve signal transmission, leading to a range of neurological symptoms. MS symptoms can vary widely depending on the location and extent of nerve damage.

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Parkinson's Disease vs Multiple Sclerosis: Similarities

Both conditions are examples of neurodegenerative diseases which disrupt the central nervous system. This leads to both ailments affecting how an individual walks, talks, moves and feels. While both diseases may begin with mild symptoms at earlier stages, they progressively get worse with time. Furthermore, the 2 conditions may also present with some common symptoms, which include:

  • Loss of control over certain motor functions
  • Hard to control spastic limb movements or weak limbs
  • Slowness of movement
  • Shaky fingers
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control

Additionally, both disorders are chronic conditions (lifelong diseases) and while there exist treatment options and medication to inhibit them, both have no cure. Both conditions may cause the individual to develop other health complications that may impact daily activities. The 2 may also share some commonalities in treatment options, as supportive therapies such as physical therapy are effective in patients with both conditions. 

However, this does not imply that the 2 medical conditions are the same. Let us compare Parkinson's disease vs multiple sclerosis now and look at the key differences between both conditions. 

Parkinson's Disease vs Multiple Sclerosis: Key Differences

While the two share some common features, if we compare Parkinson's disease vs multiple sclerosis, we notice that both conditions are quite different in a few aspects. 

Firstly, the two disorders have different underlying causalities. Parkinson's disease causes certain cells in your brain to die off, reducing the levels of dopamine in your body. This lowered dopamine level causes loss of physical functions in the body and may lead to an array of motor symptoms (such as tremors, loss of muscle control, slow movement) and non-motor symptoms (loss of memory, depression, anxiety).

On the other, MS is an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to go haywire and perceive various cells of the body as harmful. This leads to the immune system attacking cells of the body, most commonly those in the central nervous system. The condition damages the myelin sheath of the nervous cells, and as these myelin sheaths corrode, the nerve cells get damaged and nerve fibers get frayed. 

Unique Symptoms in Parkinson's Disease vs Multiple Sclerosis

On further comparison between Parkinson's disease vs multiple sclerosis, some symptoms are only found in one condition and not in the other. For Parkinson's these include:

  • Slowed movement (bradykinesia)
  • Stiff or rigid muscles
  • Postural Instability
  • Loss of control over facial muscles

While for MS, the unique symptoms include:

  • Dizziness and vertigo, where the room spins around you
  • Double vision
  • Painful tingles in any area of your body
  • Seizures
  • Hearing loss

Furthermore, the age of onset varies in both conditions too. While MS can occur at any time after the age of 20, the likelihood of developing Parkinson's only increases substantially after the age of 60. Additionally, both diseases often have differing treatment approaches. The treatment options for Parkinson's typically concern themselves with symptom management while treatment for MS looks to slow the progression of the disease and other rehabilitation strategies.

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In conclusion, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis are both neurodegenerative conditions that affect the central nervous system. Both conditions usually impact the daily activities and the quality of life of individuals. At first glance, both conditions share a few commonalities, but upon further comparison of Parkinson's disease vs multiple sclerosis, we can see that they are distinct conditions. The main differences between Parkinson's disease vs multiple sclerosis are the onset age, the cause of the disease, and a myriad of unique symptoms. 

Characterising and identifying the difference between the 2 is key to early diagnosis and an early diagnosis is always better. If you or someone you know is impacted by Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis, understanding the key differences between these conditions is crucial for proper diagnosis and management. 


What is the Difference between Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson's Disease?

While both diseases have a few common factors, the main difference lies in the nature and cause of the conditions. Upon comparison of Parkinson's disease vs multiple sclerosis, it is evident that MS is an autoimmune disorder and Parkinson's is caused by the degeneration of dopamine-producing cells in the brain. 

What is the Main Cause of Parkinson's Disease?

Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterised by the death of dopamine-producing nerve cells in the brain. However, the exact cause of the disease is unknown and scientists speculate that it is a combination of genetic, environmental, and age factors.

What Causes Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, is an autoimmune disorder. This means that the body's immune system begins attacking itself, causing damage to nerve cells in the central nervous system. The exact cause of multiple sclerosis is unknown, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Samar Takkar

Samar Takkar is a third year undergraduate student at the Indian Institute of Psychology and Research. An avid tech, automotive and sport enthusiast, Samar loves to read about cars & technology and watch football. In his free time, Samar enjoys playing video games and driving.

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