Hypomimia commonly referred to as masked face is a symptom of Parkinson’s disease in which the patient experiences loss of facial expressions. This symptom isn’t present in every case of Parkinson’s disease, and it is neither as severe in every patient experiencing it. The severity of the masked face symptom in Parkinson’s disease can be directly linked to the severity of the disease itself. Parkinson’s disease masked face symptom is named as the patient affected by it is usually seen carrying a fixed, mask-like expression.
The development of facial masking symptom in Parkinson’s disease can be put down to the loss of motor control in facial muscles, similar to how the disease affects the muscles of other parts of the body. It is a symptom that can worsen an already bad situation as it can alienate friends/family who may find it difficult or disturbing to interact with a person who is emotionally lost.
Facial masking can also be due to some other condition – so it is not advisable to link it with Parkinson’s disease in the first instance. Some psychological and psychiatric conditions also result in loss of emotional response in patients; however, this time it is not due to loss of muscle control but emotional blunting. Some medications can also affect your emotional response. So, it is very important to get the patient diagnosed before coming to any conclusion.
As far as the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease and its symptoms is concerned, there has been a breakthrough in the form of stem cell therapy to bring significant developments in the life of a patient. The fundamental reason why stem cell therapy is being opted to treat PD is due to the ability of Perinatal stem cells to decrease inflammation, improve circulation and modulate the immune system. It, essentially, results in a better life for the patient.
Carrying a masked or expressionless face is traumatic, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s how we communicate – we use both words and subtle changes in facial expression to make the other person understand what we are trying to say. Now, a person who is lacking facial expressions wouldn’t be able to get their message across – this could also lead to the other person misinterpreting the words as the expressions don’t match them. This is why people showing masked face symptoms in Parkinson’s disease face communication challenges, which can negatively affect their relationships. Masked face symptom is often accompanied by monotone voice symptom, which further adds to the woes of patients with PD.
Research in this field has revealed that people with PD display less facial masking when dealing with positive questions. So, if you ask them which according to them is the perfect holiday destination – you may get some expressions to go with the words. The reverse is also true – when responding to negative questions, patients with PD display more masking.
PD is a chronic disease that worsens with time. It affects nerves, more specifically nerves that are responsible for muscle movement. Our face has over 43 muscles whose combined movement is responsible for the creation of different expressions, such as happiness, anger, and so on. Dopamine acts as the chemical messenger that performs the role of a signal-transmitter between the brain and muscles. As PD damages dopamine-producing nerve cells, the muscle-controlling ability of the brain as well as motor symptoms are hugely impacted.
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