What is Parkinson's Disease?

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Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that results from degeneration of neurons in a region of the brain that controls movement. Parkinson's disease (PD) belongs to a group of conditions called motor system disorders, which are the result of the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells.

The primary symptoms of Parkinson's disease are:

  • Tremors or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face

  • Rigidity, or stiffness of the limbs and trunk

  • Bradykinesia, or slowness of movement

  • Inability to move (akinesia)

  • Postural instability

  • Impaired balance and coordination

  • Slow movement (bradykinesia)

  • A shuffling gait

  • Stooped posture

  • Foot pain and toe curling

  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing

As these symptoms become more pronounced, patients may have difficulty walking, talking, or completing other simple tasks. Parkinson’s disease usually affects people over the age of 50. Early symptoms of PD are subtle and occur gradually. In some people the disease progresses more quickly than in others.

As the disease progresses, the shaking, or tremor, which affects the majority of people with Parkinson’s may begin to interfere with daily activities. Other problems associated with Parkinson’s include:

There are currently no blood or laboratory tests that have been proven to help in diagnosing sporadic PD. Therefore the diagnosis is based on medical history and a neurological examination. The disease can be difficult to diagnose accurately. Doctors may sometimes request brain scans or laboratory tests in order to rule out other diseases.

The National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, (NINDS) conducts and supports research on brain and nervous system disorders.

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24 Comments

I agree and understand about PD. I Have a good Neuro. Doctor. He will sit and talk to me with an y questions. I trust him! But caregiver never listen to me when I come home and tell them. They want me to go see (better doctors) that can make sure I really have PD. They won't accept any things else. I had 3 strokes and it hit the frontal part of my brain that controls movement. The doctor has ran MRI's and two EEG's on me and the second EEG showed I have only 40% left of brain function.left. And because I walk and think fairly good that I don't have PD. Should I take them to the next appt. with my doctor. I fear them will go off on him because they are widely appended and speak up when they should keep out.
Oftentimes, our parents refuse to listen to the good advice from those who love them most and have their best interests in mind. This is a case when an objective, third party opinion might be what your father needs. Seeing a neurologist is best. But if he won't go, perhaps a visit to his family doctor whose medical advice he trusts, will convince him. (Prior to your father's appointment, you can have a private discussion with his doctor, to inform him of your suspicions and challenges.)
Glad to hear you've got the support of a therapist. If your father refuses to see a neurologist, having the opinion/assessment of an elder care manager would at least re-enforce that objective third party opinion I mentioned. Good luck!