advertisement
Updated 22 May 2015

Parkinson's disease

Parkinson's disease is when certain nerve cells become impaired.

1

Description

Parkinson's disease belongs to a group of conditions called motor system disorders. Parkinson's and related disorders are the result of the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells.

Dopamine is a chemical messenger responsible for transmitting signals within the brain.

Parkinson's disease occurs when certain nerve cells, or neurons, die or become impaired. Normally, these neurons produce dopamine.

Loss of dopamine causes the nerve cells to fire out of control, leaving patients unable to direct or control their movement in a normal manner.

Symptoms

The four primary symptoms of Parkinson's are tremor or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face; rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk; bradykinesia, or slowness of movement and postural instability or impaired balance and coordination.

Patients may also have difficulty walking, talking, or completing other simple tasks. The disease is both chronic and progressive. Parkinson's is not usually inherited. Early symptoms are subtle and occur gradually.

Treatment

A variety of medications provide dramatic relief from the symptoms, but no drug can stop the progression of the disease. In some cases, surgery is an appropriate treatment. Some doctors recommend physical therapy or muscle-strengthening exercises.

Reviewed by Dr Andrew Rose-Innes, MD, Department of Neurology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven.

 
More in Medical
IBS
advertisement

Get a quote

advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Live healthier

Your health »

How well do you know the body? Your healthy liver lifestyle

Are you healthy?

Tell us about your health and you could win R5000.

Up for grabs »

Tell us about your health Stay warm when the lights go out Win R1000 in cash!

Win an energy-saving Spindel

Enter our competition and stand a chance of winning an energy saving Spindel valued at R2200!