Parkinson's Disease, Parkinsons Disease, Parkinsons Syndrome, Parkinson's Syndrome

Parkinson's Disease

Parkinsonís disease is a progressive neurological condition affecting movements such as walking, talking, and writing. It is named after Dr James Parkinson (1755-1824), the London doctor who first identified Parkinsonís disease as a specific condition.

Parkinsonís disease has three main symptoms:

(1) Tremors that usually begin in one hand or arm and is more likely to occur when the part of the body affected is at rest. Tremors will usually decrease or disappear when the affected part is being used and often becomes more noticeable when a person with Parkinsonís disease is anxious or excited. About 70% of people with Parkinsonís disease have a tremor and it is slightly less common in younger people with Parkinsonís disease.

(2) Muscular rigidity or stiffnessis a common early sign in untreated people with Parkinsonís disease. People may experience problems turning round, getting out of chair, turning over in bed, or making fine finger movements, such as fastening a button, because of rigidity. Some people find their posture becomes stooped, or that their face becomes stiff, making facial expressions more difficult. Stiffness can affect many everyday tasks and can sometimes be quite painful.

(3) Bradykinesia means slowness of movement. People with Parkinsonís disease often find that initiating movements becomes more difficult or that it takes them longer to perform movements. Lack of co-ordination when making movements can also be a problem.

In addition to the three main symptoms, people with Parkinsonís disease may experience other symptoms, such as tiredness, depression, difficulties with handwriting and other forms of communication such as speech and facial expression, and balance.

About Parkinson's Disease
What is Parkinson's disease?

Parkinson's disease is a brain disorder and occurs in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra. When these cell die or become impaired, the symptoms occur. These cells are responsible for producitng dopamine. Dopamine allows smooth, coordinated function of the body's muscles and movement. When approximately 80% of the dopamine-producing cells are damaged, the symptoms of Parkinson's disease appear.

What are the signs and symptoms of Parkinson's disease? The loss of dopamine production in the brain causes the primary symptoms of Parkinson's disease. The key signs of Parkinson's disease are:

  • Tremor (shaking)
  • Slowness of movement
  • Rigidity (stiffness)
  • Difficulty with balance
  • Small, cramped handwriting
  • Stiff facial expression
  • Shuffling walk
  • Muffled speech
  • Depression

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