An Introduction to Parkinson's
If symptoms of Parkinson's disease are present, a medical evaluation is the best way to know the cause. Whether or not Parkinson's is the diagnosis, it's still important to seek out a medical explanation of the symptoms.
Early on in the disease, sufferers may find their hands trembling and experience a slight slur in speech or slowed speech. People with early Parkinson's may also find that their bodies feel stiff or their arms don't swing back and forth when they walk. It is important to note that not all sufferers experience the identical symptoms at the same time. The onset of Parkinson's usually occurs between the ages of 50 and 60 years. Men and those with family members with the disease are most likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson's.
People with Parkinson's disease typically have an array of symptoms, most of which have to do with their bodily movements. Tremors of the extremities are most common and usually start in the fingers and hands. Automatic muscle movements may cease. For example, the automatic blinking of a person's eyes may stop. Another indicator of Parkinson's is slowed movement and rigid muscles, all of which show a loss of dopamine-producing neurons. Problems with balance and a stooped posture are also common.
Parkinson's disease is not curable, but it is treatable with medication or brain surgery if medication causes negative side effects. Medications used in treating Parkinson's disease are usually neurotransmitters that help the brain reestablish communication with the body and muscles. Since most research indicates Parkinson's is the result of a decrease in dopamine, medications used to treat the disease are usually a form of dopamine. Surgery treatments include deep brain stimulation and removal of parts of the brain that are causing symptoms. Even if a patient has surgery, medication may still be necessary to control symptoms, though generally in smaller doses.
Parkinson's disease is a progressive condition that affects the nervous system, most commonly causing involuntary shaking in the extremities. A person with Parkinson's has a breakdown, or death, of neurons in the brain. When the neurons that create dopamine die, Parkinson's disease can result. The exact reason why a person gets Parkinson's is unknown. There are some genetic indicators of a predisposition to Parkinson's, but there is not a strong genetic link to the disease. Researchers are investigating the link between external toxins and the presence of Lewy bodies with the onset of Parkinson's disease.