Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects predominately dopamine-producing (“dopaminergic”) neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra.
Symptoms generally develop slowly over years. The progression of symptoms is often a bit different from one person to another due to the diversity of the disease. The cause remains largely unknown. Although there is no cure, treatment options vary and include medications and surgery. While Parkinson’s itself is not fatal, disease complications can be serious. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rated complications from PD as the 14th cause of death in the United State
It is possible to have a good to great quality of life with PD. Working with your doctor and following recommended therapies are essential in successfully treating symptoms by using dopaminergic medications.
In addition to movement-related (“motor”) symptoms, Parkinson’s symptoms may be unrelated to movement (“non-motor”).People with PD are often more impacted by their non-motor symptoms than motor symptoms. Examples of non-motor symptoms include: apathy, depression, constipation, sleep behavior disorders, loss of sense of smell and cognitive impairment.
10 Early Signs of Parkinson’s Disease
- Small Handwriting
- Loss of Smell
- Trouble Sleeping
- Trouble Moving or Walking
- Soft or Low Voice
- Masked Fafce
- Dizziness or Fainting
- Stooping or Hunching Over
There is no “one way” to diagnose Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, there are various symptoms and diagnostic tests used in combination. Making an accurate diagnosis of Parkinson’s — particularly in its early stages — is difficult, but a skilled practitioner can come to a reasoned conclusion that it is PD.
Treatment for each person with Parkinson’s is based on his or her symptoms.
Treatments include medication and surgical therapy. Other treatments include lifestyle modifications, like getting more rest and exercise.
There are many medications available to treat the Parkinson’s symptoms, although none yet that reverse the effects of the disease. It is common for people with PD to take a variety of these medications — all at different doses and at different times of day — to manage symptoms.