What're the signs and symptoms of Parkinson's disease?
Parkinson's disease is progressive, so the symptoms keep getting worse over time. The disease begins with very subtle signs. The patient may notice a slight shaking, called tremor, in his or her hand when it is at rest. He or she may rub the thumb and forefinger together repeatedly, as though rolling a small object between them. Moving the hand, or sleeping, makes the tremor go away. Tremor may eventually affect the other hand, arms, legs, head, jaw, tongue, and eyelids.
Fatigue or stress may increase the tremor. As the disease progresses, it becomes difficult to initiate movement, and the muscles become stiff, making movement jerky. The slowed movement that is a symptom of Parkinson's disease is called bradykinesia. The patient may also freeze in the middle of a movement, called akinesia. People with Parkinson's may have difficulty writing, speaking, changing positions, and maitaining balance. Because the facial muscles also become rigid, people with Parkinson's disease may look expressionless, as though their face is a mask.
As the disease progresses, the mouth may hang open, and the patient may drool or choke because the muscle stiffness progresses to the throat and makes swallowing difficult. Other symptoms include abdominal cramps, rapid speech with little expression in the voice, problems with sleeping, the inability to control the flow of urine (incontinence), and constipation. In the later stages, many people with Parkinson's disease suffer from depression and develop dementia, which is the progressive loss of intellectual function, and psychosis, a loss of an awareness of reality. The rigidity and bradykinesia can be the most disabling aspects of the disease. They can impair the person's ability to walk and to perform activities of daily living, such as washing, dressing or using eating utensils. Problems with unsteady balance and posture may make it hard for a person with Parkinson's disease to sit down in a chair or to rise from one. Walking is accomplished with small, shuffling steps and a stooped posture, usually without the normal arm-swinging motions. Bradykinesia can affect the facial muscles, decreasing spontaneous facial expressions and normal eye blinking.
More information on Parkinson's disease
What is Parkinson's disease? - Parkinson's disease is a progressive and degenerative movement disorder with primary motor symptoms. Parkinson's disease results from degeneration of dopamine-releasing neurons of the substantia nigra.
What causes Parkinson's disease? - The immediate cause of Parkinson's disease is degeneration of brain cells in the area known as the substantia nigra, one of the movement control centers of the brain.
Who're the risk factors for Parkinson's disease? - Age is one of the main risk factors for Parkinson's disease. Reduced estrogen levels may increase the risk of Parkinson's disease.
What're the complications of Parkinson's disease? - Dementia is the common complication of elderly Parkinson patient. Parkinson's disease poses a triple threat on the emotional health of its victims.
What're the stages Parkinson's disease? - Parkinson's disease may also be described by five stages: stage I (mild or early disease), stage II, stage III (moderate disease)...
What're the early symptoms of Parkinson's disease? - Early symptoms may include slight tremor or stiffness, a reduced sense of smell, a tendency to reduce body movements, difficulty walking.
What're the symptoms of Parkinson's disease? - Symptoms of Parkinson's disease include tremor, muscle stiffness, abdominal cramps, rapid speech with little expression in the voice, problems with sleeping.
How is Parkinson's disease diagnosed? - Diagnosis of Parkinson's disease is based on symptoms. There is no specific diagnostic procedure or laboratory test to establish the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.
What're the treatments for Parkinson's disease? - There is no cure for Parkinson's disease. The treatment of Parkinson's disease mainly relies on replacing dopamine with levodopa.
What medications cure Parkinson's disease? - Drugs currently used to treat Parkinson's disease make movement easier and can prolong function for many years. The pharmacological treatment of Parkinson's disease is complex.
What about surgeries for Parkinson's disease? - Surgery for Parkinson's disease include pallidotomy, thalamotomy, deep-brain stimulation, and transplantation.
What about physical therapy for Parkinson's disease? - Following a program of regular exercise can help people with Parkinson's disease maintain mobility. Physical therapy can help Parkinson's disease patient.
What is l-dopa (levodopa)? - Levodopa, or L-dopa, which is converted to dopamine in the brain, remains the gold standard for treating Parkinson's disease.