What is it?

Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disease. The disease in its early stages mainly affects movement, but later can affect other functions of the brain, such as memory and thinking. The cause of the disease is unknown, but it is known that it affects areas of the brain that are responsible for creating movement (with the help of a substance unique to the nervous system called dopamine). Parkinson's does not have a cure, but there is a wide range of possible treatments that slow the progression of the disease.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Paralysis Agitans
- Secondary Parkinsonism

Signs & symptoms

Parkinson's disease begins with mild symptoms, which worsen over time. A typical early symptom is tremor, mainly of the hands. Other early signs are stiff facial expression, loss of sense of smell and reduction in limb movement while walking. Later, the movement becomes slow and stiff and there may be a significant disruption in walking. Everyday tasks can become challenging. In more advanced stages of Parkinson's disease, cognitive changes may occur, such as confusion, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, and hallucinations. Possible physical symptoms include changes in blood pressure, urination difficulties, constipation, difficulty swallowing, increased sweating and sexual dysfunction.

Diagnosis

On suspicion of Parkinson's disease, the doctor will perform a physical and neurological examination. In some cases, an imaging test of the brain will be performed, and in particular a test called SPECT in which the dopamine regions in the brain are mapped.

Treatment

Parkinson's disease has no cure. A combination of medication and healthy habits and lifestyle adjustments can help slow the progression of the disease.
- Exercising can reduce stiffness, improve mobility, reduce anxiety, and contribute to overall health and sleep quality.
- Adjusting the house (for example moving aside slippery carpets) is important for reducing the risk of falls.
- Medication - There are a number of medications that help reduce stiffness and movement dysfunction.
- Deep brain stimulation - This is a surgery that is usually reserved for cases where significant symptoms remain despite optimal drug treatment. In this surgery, an electrode is implanted in the brain whose function is to provide electrical stimuli that help control movement.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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