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:
Tremor (shaking) at rest
Difficulty with balance (postural instability)
Slowed movement (bradykinesia)
Difficulty initiating and continuing movement
Lack of facial expression (hypomimia)
Decreased swinging of arms or increased dragging of feet
Loss of fine motor skills
Muscle aches /pains
Slowed, quieter, monotone speech
Low blood pressure upon standing
Lack of body temperature regulation
Anxiety, stress, tension
Hallucinations, vivid dreams, or sleep disturbances