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Parkinson's Disease - Symptoms and Treatment

Parkinson's Disease is a chronic, progressive neurodegenerative movement disorder. Tremors, rigidity, slow movement (bradykinesia), poor balance, and difficulty walking (called parkinsonian gait) are characteristic primary symptoms of Parkinson's disease.It is a progressive neurological disorder that results from degeneration of neurons in a region of the brain that controls movement.

Causes of Parkinson's Disease

Low levels of dopamine, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) involved in controlling movement, cause symptoms of Parkinson's disease. The shortage of this brain chemical occurs when nerve cells in a part of the brain (substantia nigra) that produces dopamine fail and deteriorate. The exact cause of this deterioration is not known. Many researchers believe that several factors combined are involved: free radicals, accelerated aging, environmental toxins, and genetic predisposition. Exposure to an environmental toxin , such as a pesticide, that inhibits dopamine production and produces free radicals and oxidation damage may be involved.

Symtoms of Parkinson's Disease

  • Bradykinesia, tremor, rigidity, and parkinsonian gait
  • Tremor, or shaking, often in a hand, arm, or leg.
  • Stiff muscles (rigidity) and achiness. Rigidity can also affect the muscles of the legs, face, neck, or other parts of the body and may cause muscles to feel tired and achy.
  • Slow, limited movement (bradykinesia), especially when the person tries to move from a resting position. For instance, it may be difficult to get out of a chair or turn over in bed.
  • Weakness of face and throat muscles. Talking and swallowing may become more difficult, and the person may choke, cough, or drool. Speech becomes softer and monotonous. Loss of movement in the muscles in the face can cause a fixed, vacant facial expression, often called the "Parkinson's mask."
  • Difficulty with walking (gait disturbance) and balance (postural instability).

Treatment of Parkinson's Disease

There is no cure for Parkinson's Disease disease. Medication can provide relief to its patient. Medication selection and dosage is tailored to the individual. The physician considers factors such as severity of symptoms, age, and presence of other medical conditions. Levodopa and carbidopa combined (Sinemet®) is the used in Parkinson's therapy drugs like Anticholinergics, Amantadine, Selegiline (Deprenyl), Dopamine, agonists, Apomorphine.


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