Akinesia, also known as bradykinesia and hypokinesia is a movement disorder studied in various medical specialties. In neurology, Parkinsonian akinesia is defined as a slowing of movement. In cardiology, cardiac akinesia corresponds to the lack of movement of the heart muscle.
Definition of Akinesia
Akinesia is a movement disorder. A person with akinesia has an inability or difficulty in performing certain muscle movements. Akinesia should not be confused with dyskinesia, which is abnormal muscle movement.
Causes of akinesia
Akinesia is a movement disorder that is diagnosed and studied in several medical disciplines.
Neurology: Parkinson’s akinesia
In neurology, akinesia is a sign of Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the progressive destruction of neurons in the brain. Parkinson’s disease has three characteristic symptoms: rigidity, tremor, and akinesia. Parkinson’s akinesia is usually defined as a slowing of movements.
Cardiology: Cardiac akinesia
In cardiology, akinesia more specifically refers to the lack of movement of the myocardium (heart muscle). Cardiac akinesia is usually the result or consequence of myocardial infarction. Commonly known as a heart attack, a myocardial infarction leads to the destruction of part of the heart muscle.
Development of akinesia
The consequences and development of akinesia depend on several parameters, including its origin.
What are the consequences of Parkinsonian akinesia?
Parkinson’s akinesia can cause various difficulties in daily life. A person suffering from akinesia may have difficulty or an inability to do:
- Voluntary or involuntary actions
- Precise or complex gestures
- Simultaneous, coordinated or repetitive movements.
In Parkinsonian akinesia, there is a slowing of movements. This can result in:
- A feeling of great fatigue while performing movements
- A feeling of rigidity that can lead to immobility (freezing)
- A change in gait, especially with asymmetrical and increasingly shorter steps
- Speech disorders, which may manifest as monotonous speech and an accelerated rate of speech
- Difficulties in writing, such as micrographia, with writing that becomes smaller or even illegible.
How does cardiac akinesia develop?
Cardiac akinesia is treated with medication to limit the risk of complications. After a heart attack, several tests are performed to identify the affected area of the heart muscle, measure the extent of the damage, identify possible complications and assess the risk of recurrence.
Treatment for akinesia
In the case of akinesia, preventive measures are usually used to limit the risk of complications. Treatment of akinesia is usually based on rehabilitation, i.e., providing care and exercises to make movements more fluid, compensate for the loss of automaticity, and improve the quality of life of people with akinesia.
Parkinson’s disease – managing symptoms
When a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is made, several therapeutic approaches can be considered to limit disease progression and relieve symptoms, including akinesia. Management of Parkinson’s akinesia can be based on:
- Maintaining an active lifestyle with gentle physical activity
- Relaxation, including yoga sessions
- Rehabilitation, which may involve various specialists, such as physical, occupational, and speech therapists
- Medication, which may be based on different agents such as L-dopa, dopamine agonists, or anticholinergics
- Psychological support, especially in cases of malaise or withdrawal.
Cardiac akinesia: cardiac rehabilitation
After a heart attack, cardiac rehabilitation or cardiac rehab is often recommended to limit the risk of recurrence and restore the patient’s abilities. This treatment may involve several specialists, including cardiologists, physical therapists, and psychologists. Cardiac rehabilitation is essentially based on:
- Physical rehabilitation, under medical supervision, with the practice of various exercises with progressive intensity
- Therapeutic education of the patient, which consists of limiting cardiovascular risk factors.