Overview of Parkinson's disease
Parkinson’s disease is a complex movement disorder that occurs when nerve cells in the brain start to die or no longer function. Loss of these nerve cells causes a drop in circulating dopamine, a neurotransmitter. These types of chemicals enable nerve cells to communicate.
Because dopamine is necessary for nerve cells to communicate normal movement, reduced levels of it in people with Parkinson’s cause movement problems, such as hand tremors. Other non-movement problems can also be caused by Parkinson’s, such as sleep disorders, digestive problems, and cognitive difficulties.
Parkinson’s disease is chronic and progressive. It mainly affects people older than 60 but can begin much earlier in life.
Thankfully, the neurological specialists at Dignity Health are here to help you manage your Parkinson’s disease in NV, CA, or AZ at a location near you.
Symptoms of Parkinson's disease
The most commonly encountered signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include a variety of problems with physical movement, such as:
- Tremors of the hands, legs, face, or even voice
- Stiff muscles in the arms, legs, or torso
- Slow movement
- Difficulty coordinating movements
- Poor balance
Causes of Parkinson's disease
Scientists do not know exactly what causes the loss of dopamine-producing nerve cells. Parkinson’s disease can run in families, and a few specific gene mutations can cause the disease.
However, most cases of Parkinson’s are not inherited. It’s thought that a combination of genetics and environmental factors play a role. For instance, some gene mutations are not inherited, but they increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s.