Dystonia: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
Did you know that Dystonia is the third most common movement disorder, affecting 300,000 people in North America? Are you in Texas and looking for answers to understand this disorder?
In this article, you’ll discover all about the different dystonia treatment options, as well as what exactly it is. Read on to discover the symptoms of this disorder to catch it early.
What Is Dystonia?
Did you know that dystonia 12 is considered a rare disease? Dystonia is a common movement disorder where your muscles contract involuntarily causing twisting or repetitive movements. There are 3 main types, it can either affect all parts of your body (general), 2 or more parts that are adjacent (segmental), or one part of your body (focal).
It can affect any region of your body from your feet to your eyelids. Your muscle spasms can be mild, severe, or somewhere in between. Painful muscle spasms can affect your day to day life. If you’re looking for medical treatment in Texas for this disorder, you’ll want to see a professional with experience.
The Different Types
Segmental dystonia can be found in 2 or more adjacent parts of the body. A common type of segmental dystonia affects your jaw, mouth, lower face, and eyelids. There’s multifocal dystonia that impacts 2 or more body parts that are far from each other.
Hemidystonia impacts half of your body and general dystonia starts at the leg but then can spread to other parts of the body.
Some early symptoms of dystonia can include speech problems, uncontrollable blinking, cramping in your foot, involuntary pulling of the neck, and a dragging leg. If the symptoms appear during childhood, they normally occur in the hands or feet and then spread to other parts of the body.
If the symptoms appear in adulthood, they normally start in the upper body. They normally affect 2 or more adjacent body parts or one part of the body. Acute dystonia symptoms can only show during specific movements, but over time can occur during rest periods as well.
You might have blepharospasm if you’re sensitive to bright light and blink often. You can have limb dystonia if you notice fatigue during walking or your hand cramping when you’re writing. Oromandibular dystonia can appear as facial spasms, changes in speech, or difficulty chewing.
Primary or idiopathic dystonia is normally inherited from a parent. When there’s damage to the basal ganglia that can cause dystonia. If you have experienced carbon monoxide poisoning, drug reactions, stroke, brain trauma, tumor, infection, or oxygen deprivation, these can all cause this disorder.
Most early-onset primary dystonias that occur during childhood or adulthood are normally caused by a gene known as DYT1. Symptoms can start in a limb and then spread to other parts of the body. It normally appears around the age of 12, and rarely after 29.
DYT6 dystonia is found to be rarer than DYT1. This disorder usually starts at one site and then spreads to multiple regions of the body. Common areas include the neck, head, and limbs. Difficulties with speech have been noticed as well. Other primary dystonias include DYT4, DYT2, and DYT7.
How Is It Diagnosed?
There isn’t just one test to diagnose it. Your diagnostic process can include your family history, a physical examination, blood and urine tests, genetic testing, your medical history, and possibly other screenings and tests.
Dystonia is then placed into 3 factors which are the underlying cause, the parts of the body affected, and the age the symptoms begin. Adult-onset is older than age 20, adolescent-onset is 13-20 years, and childhood-onset is between 0-12. The younger someone is who is diagnosed with this disorder, the more likely it’ll spread.
Like with any disorder, dystonia can lead to other complications.
Possible complications can include:
• Depression and anxiety
• Physical disabilities
• Hard to speak, swallow, or move your jaw
• Vision impairment that affects your eyelids
Speak with your Texas neurologist today about dystonia.
While there is no cure for dystonia, there are treatment options you can speak with your neurologist about. Children who have generalized dystonia can be prescribed levodopa and other medications. Botulinum toxin injection can help focal dystonia. This stops the posturing of the head or eye spasms.
Some can find treatment from neurosurgical options such as neuromodulation and selective denervation. Treatment can be combined and used together such as botox and medications. They can both block the communication between the muscle and nerve.
Surgery is an option if other treatment options aren’t working. Surgery will interrupt the pathways that are responsible for the abnormal movements of the nervous system. They can damage small parts of the thalamus or globus pallidus to help this be possible.
Other surgeries can include cutting the nerves that lead to the nerve roots in the neck close to the spinal cord. Another option is to remove the nerves at the place where they enter the contracting muscles. Deep brain stimulation is also an option that shows improvement in dystonia.
Speak with your neurology surgeon about the pros and cons of surgery as well as any potential risks.
Understanding Dystonia Treatment Options
While there’s no cure for dystonia, there are many dystonia treatment options out there. Are you ready to finally get treatment for your symptoms? Why suffer unnecessarily any longer? Contact your local Texas neurologist today. We will help you and discuss different treatment options that are specific to you and your symptoms.