What is Parkinson’s?
Parkinson's belongs to a group of conditions called motor system disorders, which cause unintended or uncontrollable movements of the body. The precise cause of Parkinson’s is unknown, but some cases are hereditary while others are thought to occur from a combination of genetics and environmental factors that trigger the disease. In Parkinson’s, brain cells become damaged or die in the part of the brain that produces dopamine--a chemical needed to produce smooth, purposeful movement. Learn More:
What are the common signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s?
The four primary symptoms of Parkinson’s are:
Tremor – Shaking that has a characteristic rhythmic back and forth motion.
Rigidity – Muscle stiffness or resistance to movement, where muscles remain constantly tense and contracted.
Bradykinesia – Slowing of spontaneous and automatic movement that can make it difficult to perform simple tasks or rapidly perform routine movements.
Postural Instability – Impaired balance and changes in posture can increase the risk of falls.
Other symptoms may include difficulty swallowing, chewing, or speaking; emotional changes; urinary problems or constipation; dementia or other cognitive problems; fatigue; and problems sleeping.
How is Parkinson’s diagnosed?
No specific test exists to diagnose Parkinson's. Your doctor trained in nervous system conditions (neurologist) will diagnose Parkinson's based on your medical history, a review of your signs and symptoms, and a neurological and physical examination. Parkinson’s is misdiagnosed around 50% of the time. It is highly suggested that your second opinion be given by a MOVEMENT DISORDER SPECIALIST. A movement disorder specialist is a medical doctor, a neurologist with additional training in Parkinson’s and other movement disorders. This type of doctor typically has extensive knowledge of “Atypical,” “Parkinson’s-like,” “Parkinsonisms,” and “Parkinson's” therapies and ongoing research. Learn More:
How quickly does Parkinson’s progress?
Parkinson’s is both chronic, meaning it persists over a long period of time, and progressive, meaning symptoms grow worse over time. Although some people become severely disabled, others experience only minor motor disruptions. Tremor is the major symptom for some individuals, while for others tremor is only a minor complaint and other symptoms are more troublesome. Learn More:
Is there a cure for Parkinson's?
At present, there is no cure for Parkinson’s but a variety of medications provide dramatic relief from the symptoms. Usually, affected individuals are given levodopa combined with carbidopa. In some cases, surgery may be appropriate if the disease doesn't respond to drugs. A combination of physical therapies and wellness strategies are also recommended. The following is a sampling of treatment options available for Parkinson’s:
How do I find the right doctor for me?
Finding the right doctor(s) is of utmost importance for you as you navigate Parkinson’s. It is highly suggested that you see a MOVEMENT DISORDER SPECIALIST. A movement disorder specialist is a medical doctor, a neurologist with additional training in Parkinson’s and other movement disorders.
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