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Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder. It’s characterized by muscle rigidity, tremors, and difficulty with motor skills. As a progressive neurological disorder, Parkinson’s disease worsens over time and is more common in older adults than younger ones.
Parkinson’s Disease is caused by a degeneration of the basal ganglia and a dopamine deficiency. The basal ganglia is a part of the brain that is linked to the thalamus and associated with coordination and movement. Dopamine natural chemical in the brain that’s involved with many different brain functions.
What causes the degradation of the basal ganglia and dopamine deficiencies isn’t precisely known. Researchers believe genes, certain toxins, and Lewy bodies, which are specific substances that sometimes appear in the brain, may all play a role.
As people with Parkinson’s Disease lose muscle control, they may exhibit a number of different symptoms. A few include:
Parkinson’s Disease is typically diagnosed by a neurologist, which is a medical doctor who specializes in neurological disorders. There isn’t a specific test that neurologists can use to confirm whether a patient has Parkinson’s disease, so they rely on multiple sources of information. A neurologist will ask about a patient’s symptoms, perform an exam, and possibly order tests when diagnosing a patient. The tests they might order include MRIs, ultrasounds of the brain, and PET and SPECT scans.
Most cases of Parkinson’s Disease are treated with medication. The list of possible medications includes carbidopa-levodopa, carbidopa-levodopa infusion, dopamine agonists, MAO-B inhibitors, COMT inhibitors, anticholinergics, and amantadine. In severe cases, surgery may be required. Medication is always the first choice, however, and it’s almost always effective. Surgery is only rarely called for.
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