Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is one of many movement disorders. It is chronic and progressive, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time. Nearly one million people in the US are living with Parkinson’s Disease in various stages. Symptoms vary from person to person, so it is sometimes difficult to diagnose, or it can be misdiagnosed. The cause is unknown, and although there is presently no cure, there are treatment options such as medication and surgery to manage its symptoms.
Parkinson’s Disease involves the malfunction and death of vital nerve cells in the brain, called neurons. Some of these dying neurons produce dopamine, a chemical that sends messages to the part of the brain that controls movement and coordination. As Parkinson’s Disease progresses, the amount of dopamine produced in the brain decreases, leaving a person unable to control body movement.
The symptoms that an individual experiences varies from person to person. But generally, the main signs of Parkinson’s Disease include the following.
- tremor of the hands, arms, legs, and head
- bradykinesia or slowness of getting up from a chair and walking
- rigidity or stiffness in one or both legs
- postural instability or impaired balance and coordination
There is also some interference in the sense of smell and sleep disturbances. The intestines also have dopamine cells that degenerate in Parkinson’s Disease, and this may be significant in the gastrointestinal symptoms that are part of the disease.
If you, or a loved one, has symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, see a neurologist who specializes in movement disorders. A second opinion is a good idea, too.
To Learn More:
- Browse information about the symptoms of Parkinson’s.
- Have you been diagnosed with a Parkinson’s Plus Syndrome? ReadUnderstanding Atypical Parkinsonism – to better understand your diagnosis and how it may differ from a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.
Think about it.
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