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Diagnosing Parkinson’s Disease


Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder that mainly affects people older than 60 but can start earlier. It’s caused when nerve cells in the brain no longer function or start to die, resulting in a drop of dopamine. This chemical allows nerve cells to talk to each other and is responsible for normal movement. Low dopamine levels can cause difficulty moving, stiffness, and poor balance.

For expertise to diagnose and treat Parkinson’s disease in the Bay Area, meet with a neurologist at Dignity Health. For the services you need, Find a Doctor online.

Common Signs of Parkinson’s Disease

The main signs and symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease involve movement and include: 

  • Difficulty with balance
  • Hand, leg, or face tremors
  • Muscle stiffness in the arms, legs, or torso
  • Problems with coordinating movements
  • Slow movement

Parkinson’s disease can also cause digestive problems, sleep disorders, and problems thinking.

What Causes Parkinson’s Disease?

Researchers don’t know the specific causes of Parkinson’s disease, however, certain risk factors have been linked to it. These include a family history of Parkinson’s disease and gene mutations. In most cases, a combination of genetics and environmental factors may play a role.

Treating Parkinson’s Disease

Treatment options focus on easing symptoms and improving quality of life. Dignity Health doctors offer the latest treatments, including:

  • Medications to raise dopamine levels in the brain
  • Surgery to place a deep brain stimulation (DBS) device that blocks nerve impulses causing abnormal movements
  • Therapies, including physical, occupational, and speech therapy

While there’s no cure for Parkinson’s disease, medications and surgery can help control symptoms and restore the ability to lead a normal life. Talk with a Dignity Health neurologist to learn more about these treatments. 

Dignity Health hospitals in the Bay Area offer compassionate care and personalized treatment for Parkinson’s disease.