Parkinson’s Disease (PD) most often occurs in people age 50 years and older (the average age of onset is 60) and is a progressive, neurodegenerative, movement disorder. The symptoms manifest differently from one person to another and often early symptoms go unnoticed. The progression of the disease also varies with each individual.
If you suspect you have PD, you will need to see a specialist for a thorough examination as there is no specific test to diagnosis the disease and it can easily be misdiagnosed. While there is currently no cure for PD, there are several medications that can help manage your symptoms. Additionally some people undergo surgical therapies that regulate certain regions of the brain and help to ease symptoms.
Parkinson’s can affect an individual’s balance, movement, breathing, and heart functions. It usually starts on one side of the body but over time it moves to other side, however, the disease is typically worse on the first side affected. The Michael J. Fox Foundation lists the common motor symptoms associated with PD known as “cardinal” symptoms. These include:
- Bradykinesia(slowness of movement) — slowing down and loss of spontaneous and voluntary movement
- Rigidity– unusual stiffness in a limb or other body part
- Resting tremor– an uncontrollable movement that affects a limb when it is at rest and stops for the duration of a voluntary movement
- Postural instability– problems with standing or walking, or impaired balance and coordination
- Other physical symptoms, such as gait problems and reduced facial expression, may also occur due to the same disruption of movement that causes the better-known tremor and slowness
Today doctors recognize that PD also causes other symptoms known as “non-motor symptoms” or “dopamine-non-responsive.” They include cognitive impairment, mood disorders, constipation and problems with swallowing and speech as well as sleeping.
For informational purposes only, please consult your health care provider if you have any questions regarding your health.
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