Parkinson disease results from certain brain cells dying. These cells help control movement and coordination. The disease leads to shaking (tremors) and trouble walking and moving.
Paralysis agitans; Shaking palsy
Nerve cells use a brain chemical called dopamine to help control muscle movement. With Parkinson disease, the brain cells that make dopamine slowly die. Without dopamine, the cells that control movement can't send proper messages to the muscles. This makes it hard to control the muscles. Slowly, over time, this damage gets worse. No one knows exactly why these brain cells waste away.
Parkinson disease most often develops after age 50. It is one of the most common nervous system problems in older adults.
Symptoms may be mild at first. For instance, you may have a mild tremor or a slight feeling that one leg is stiff and dragging. Jaw tremor has also been an early sign of Parkinson disease. Symptoms may affect one or both sides of the body.
General symptoms may include:
Movement problems may include:
Symptoms of shaking (tremors):
Other symptoms may include:
There is no cure for Parkinson disease, but treatment can help control your symptoms.
Your provider will prescribe medicines to help control your shaking and movement symptoms.
At certain times during the day, the medicine may wear off and symptoms can return. If this happens, your provider may need to change any of the following:
You may also need to take medicines to help with:
Parkinson medicines can cause severe side effects, including:
Tell your provider right away if you have these side effects. Never change or stop taking any medicines without talking with your provider. Stopping some medicines for Parkinson disease may lead to a severe reaction. Work with your provider to find a treatment plan that works for you.
As the disease gets worse, symptoms such as stooped posture, frozen movements, and speech problems may not respond to the medicines.
Surgery may be an option for some people. Surgery does not cure Parkinson disease, but it may help ease symptoms. Types of surgery include:
Certain lifestyle changes may help you cope with Parkinson disease:
Alberto Espay is a Neurologist in Cincinnati, Ohio. Dr. Espay has been practicing medicine for over 28 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Parkinson's Disease. He is also highly rated in 57 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Parkinson's Disease, Drug Induced Dyskinesia, Primary Orthostatic Tremor, and Focal Dystonia. He is board certified in Neurology and licensed to treat patients in Ohio. Dr. Espay is currently accepting new patients.
Joseph Jankovic is a Neurologist and a Psychiatrist in Houston, Texas. Dr. Jankovic is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Parkinson's Disease. He is also highly rated in 38 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Parkinson's Disease, Drug Induced Dyskinesia, Torticollis, and Benign Essential Blepharospasm. He is board certified in Neurology and licensed to treat patients in Texas. Dr. Jankovic is currently accepting new patients.
Nandakumar Narayanan is a Neurologist in Iowa City, Iowa. Dr. Narayanan has been practicing medicine for over 14 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Parkinson's Disease. He is also highly rated in 2 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Parkinson's Disease, Athetosis, Lewy Body Dementia, and Dementia. He is board certified in Neurology and licensed to treat patients in Iowa. Dr. Narayanan is currently accepting new patients.
Parkinson disease support groups can help you cope with the changes caused by the disease. Sharing with others who have common experiences can help you feel less alone.
Medicines can help most people with Parkinson disease. How well medicines relieve symptoms and for how long they relieve symptoms can be different in each person.
The disorder gets worse until a person is totally disabled, although in some people, this can take decades. Parkinson disease may lead to a decline in brain function and early death. Medicines may prolong function and independence.
Parkinson disease may cause problems such as:
Contact your provider if:
If you take medicines for Parkinson disease, tell your provider about any side effects, which may include:
Also contact your provider if the condition gets worse and home care is no longer possible.
Published Date : February 04, 2020
Published By : Amit M. Shelat, DO, FACP, FAAN, Attending Neurologist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Editorial update 09/28/2021.
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Radder DLM, Sturkenboom IH, van Nimwegen M, et al. Physical therapy and occupational therapy in Parkinson's disease. Int J Neurosci. 2017;127(10):930-943. PMID: 28007002 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28007002/.