About Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurodegenerative brain disorder, which causes tremors and difficulty with movement and coordination. Parkinson’s affects nerve cells, called neurons, in a particular part of the brain called the substantia nigra. These neurons normally produce dopamine, a brain chemical that relays messages between the substantia nigra and other parts of the brain that control muscle movement. These dopamine-producing neurons are slowly destroyed over time, eventually preventing normal control of movement. The cause of the neuronal degeneration is unknown. In the U.S. more than fifty thousand new PD cases are diagnosed each year.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease may initially be mild and may affect one or both sides of the body.

Motor Symptoms include:

Muscle rigidity

  • Increased resistance to range of motion
  • Increases with movement, stress, increased concentration

Tremor (shaking) at rest

  • 50% of patients complain of tremor as the first sign of PD
  • Usually occurs at rest or when limbs are held out but decreases upon moving
  • May move to head, lips, tongue, and feet
  • Aggravated by fatigue, excitement, or stress

Difficulty with balance (postural instability)


Slowed movement (bradykinesia)

  • May be the earliest or most subtle sign of PD
  • Increases with stress
  • Has serious effects on walking and balance and may cause falls

Difficulty initiating and continuing movement

  • Sudden, stalled movement (“Freezing”)

Lack of facial expression (hypomimia)


Decreased swinging of arms or increased dragging of feet


Loss of fine motor skills

  • Handwriting becoming smaller/cramped together (micrographia)

Muscle aches /pains

Difficulty swallowing

Drooling

Constipation

Slowed, quieter,  monotone speech

Stooped position

Low blood pressure upon standing

Lack of body temperature regulation

Others:

Anxiety, stress, tension
Confusion
Dementia
Depression
Fainting
Hallucinations, vivid dreams, or sleep disturbances
Memory Loss


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by our Medical Director Stuart Isaacson MD