What is Parkinson's Disease?

Definition of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disease that affects certain nerve cells in the brain by causing them to break down and stop making the necessary chemical called dopamine. This results in involuntary muscle movements, and the inability to control muscle movements.

Generally, Parkinson’s is first observed in patients over 50 years of age, but it can affect patients much younger.

The cause of Parkinson’s is unknown. Genetic factors, environmental triggers and age are being examined in the search for a cure.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

  • Tremor, or involuntary shaking in a part of the body
  • Stiff muscles
  • Slow movement
  • Problems with balance or walking

As the disease progresses, all muscles in the body are affected. This can mean trouble speaking, swallowing, and sometimes dementia.

It is important to note here that not all tremors are due to a diagnosis of Parkinson’s. Many other conditions and neurological processes can produce symptoms of tremor, so it is important to see a physician for a proper diagnosis and medical care.

Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease

  • Medicine can control symptoms very effectively, and may not be necessary until the progression of the disease begins to affect daily life.
  • Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery
  • Physical therapy and occupational therapy

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Don’t forget to read more in our neurological disease section for information on Peripheral Neuropathy.