What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder with no known cause or cure.  It is most often identified by shaking or immobilized limbs and slowed speech.  Symptoms have a slow and quiet onset, often mistaken for the natural effects of aging.  As a result, Parkinson’s sometimes goes untreated in senior citizens.


As effects of the disease worsen, it may be increasingly difficult for those living with the disease to get on with daily activities that involve motor skills, such as writing, buttoning or zipping clothes, brushing teeth, using a fork or knife and walking, all of which require precision and muscle control.


A leading theory suggests the disease is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, but there is no known evidence to pinpoint a specific cause.  What is known is how the disorder works.  Parkinson’s is a chronic, progressive neurological disease attacking cells in a part of the mid-brain, which produces a chemical called dopamine.  Dopamine facilitates communication in the brain and when production is slowed or stops, as in the onset of Parkinson’s, neurons lose the ability to receive instruction from the command center as to how to direct muscles.  One result of having wayward neurons is that they send signals to the muscles in the body, which cause spasms or other Parkinson’s related symptoms.


If you would like more information on Parkinson’s Disease, contact the National Parkinson Foundation at 800-327-4545 or visit them online at www.parkinson.org.


Phone code: 1739

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