Parkinson's Disease - what is it?
Parkinson Disease was named for a British doctor by the name of James Parkinson in 1817.
It takes place when nerve cells (or neurons) in a part of the brain and is one of a larger group of
neurological conditions called motor system disorders.
Parkinson disease is a disorder that affects nerve cells (neurons) in the part of the brain that controls
muscle movement. After Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease is the most common neuro-degenerative disease to
affect the human race.
Parkinson’s Disease is characterized by:
- muscle rigidity
- difficulty walking and
- problems with balance and coordination.
Parkinsons Disease mostly develops in people over the age of 50. Eventhough Parkinsons
doesn’t age discriminate a small percentage of younger people may also be affected but this is fairly uncommon.
Over 4 million people in the world have Parkinson disease - more than those affected by
Muscular Dystrophy, Lou Gehrig's Disease and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) combined.
Over one million people in the United States have Parkinson's disease and about 50,000 new cases are diagnosed
each year (in the U.S.).
Parkinson disease is a progressive disease, which means that the symptoms become more
severe over time.
Eventually, after many years, Parkinson's may be disabling. However, the disease usually progresses so slowly
that the vast majority of people have many years of productive living after a diagnosis before the symptoms become
There is no particular hurry to begin treatment for the symptoms of Parkinson disease. If treatment is
not started immediately, then the person is not disadvantaged in any way.
Some specialists actually suggest that a person waits until their symptoms are causing some difficulties with
their daily living before they begin treatment.
Parkinson’s disease afflicts both men and women and it occurs in every race of people in
all four corners of the world.
Some studies undertaken have shown that the Caucasian population appears more susceptible to developing the
condition than African-Americans or Asians but scientists cannot pinpoint accurately why this might be the
It is not known for sure what causes Parkinson disease but in the majority of cases it is
believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Parkinson disease symptoms: Some common symptoms of Parkinson disease are occasional and
rhythmic tremors in the extremities (arms, legs, feet, hands and fingers), the jaw and/or face; slowness in regards
to movement (also known as bradykinesia); rigidity (or akinesia) that develops in the neck, arms, torso or legs;
difficulty with speech.
Problems with balancing one’s body and coordinating movements and being extremely fatigued, cranky or generally
just feeling discouraged with one’s life.
Some other symptoms may also include: Non-specific sensory symptoms: Unusual sensory feelings such as numbness,
pain, burning sensation, restlessness and fatigue can also be indicators of Parkinson disease.
Also, Seborrheic dermatitis: Parkinsons patients may notice that they have developed
greasier skin, especially around the nose and eyebrows, and a greasier scalp. This symptom is usually accompanied
by increased sweating.
The most common way to test for Parkinson disease is thorough physical and systemic
neurological examination. This may include tests to gauge the patient’s reflexes, muscle strength, coordination,
balance, gait, and smoothness of movement.
Physicians, when trying to test for the illness, may also look for a family history of Parkinson disease.
You can go here for some more Background Information.