Sunday, 6 May 2012

Parkinson's disease

Parkinson's disease

A disorder of progressive degeneration of certain nerve cells (neurons) of the brain, mainly those involved with movement, or initiation of movement. The cells that are most affected are ones that produce and release the neurotransmitter dopamine. Besides movement problems many patients experience depression and some form of dementia.

Muscle rigidity, unstable gait, loss of balance, shuffling walk, slow movements, difficulty initiating any voluntary movement, small steps followed by the need to run to maintain balance, freezing of movement when the movement is stopped, shaking, tremors, changes in facial expression, voice or speech changes, loss of fine motor skills, frequent falls, decline in intellectual function, constipation.

There is no known cure. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms. The medications used increase the levels of dopamine in the brain. The medications can cause severe side effects, so monitoring and follow-up by the health care provider is important.

Additional tests to rule out other disorders that cause similar symptoms may be done.