What You Need to Know About Parkinson’s
Parkinson’s is a disease that affects nearly one million Americans today. The more you know about the disease, the more you can be on the lookout for early warning signs, as well as provide better care and understanding for any loved ones who may be afflicted with it. Although there sadly is no cure for Parkinson’s at this time, there are ways to manage and minimize symptoms to continue enjoying life to the fullest.
Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder with no currently known cause. Over time, the neurons in the brain that produce dopamine diminish. As the dopamine levels decrease, it often causes movement issues, such as muscle stiffness, poor balance, slowed movement, and tremors. Typically Parkinson’s develops after age 50, but Young Onset Parkinson’s can occur as well. The condition is more prevalent in men than women, but it affects both genders.
Researchers have many theories, but have not yet targeted a specific cause of the disease. The current best idea is that it may be a combination of genetics, environment, and other risk factors such as age and gender.
Symptoms, and their severity, vary from person to person, especially as the disease progresses. But look out for:
- Tremors in the hand, arms, legs or jaw
- Slow movement, medically referred to as bradykinesia
- Stiffness in the body or limbs, sometimes misattributed to arthritis
- Balance issues
- Small handwriting
- Gait changes
- Stooped posture
- Softer speaking voice
- Sleep disorders
- Vision problems
- Loss of smell
- Anxiety or depression