Parkinson’s Disease – what is it?
Parkinson Disease was named for a British doctor by the name of James Parkinson in 1817. It takes place when nerve cells (or neurons) in a part of the brain and is one of a larger group of neurological conditions called motor system disorders.
Parkinson disease is a disorder that affects nerve cells (neurons) in the part of the brain that controls muscle movement. After Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease is the most common neuro-degenerative disease to affect the human race.
Parkinson’s Disease is characterized by:
- muscle rigidity
- difficulty walking and
- problems with balance and coordination.
Parkinsons Disease mostly develops in people over the age of 50. Even though Parkinsons doesn’t age discriminate a small percentage of younger people may also be affected but this is fairly uncommon.
Over 4 million people in the world have Parkinson disease – more than those affected by Muscular Dystrophy, Lou Gehrig’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) combined.
Over one million people in the United States have Parkinson’s disease and about 50,000 new cases are diagnosed each year (in the U.S.).
Parkinson disease is a progressive disease, which means that the symptoms become more severe over time. Eventually, after many years, Parkinson’s may be disabling. However, the disease usually progresses so slowly that the vast majority of people have many years of productive living after a diagnosis before the symptoms become severe.
There is no particular hurry to begin treatment for the symptoms of Parkinson disease.
It is not known for sure what causes Parkinson disease but in the majority of cases it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Parkinson disease symptoms: Some common symptoms of Parkinson disease are occasional and rhythmic tremors in the extremities (arms, legs, feet, hands and fingers), the jaw and/or face; slowness in regards to movement (also known as bradykinesia); rigidity (or akinesia) that develops in the neck, arms, torso or legs; difficulty with speech; problems with balancing one’s body and coordinating movements and being extremely fatigued, cranky or generally just feeling discouraged with one’s life.
Some other symptoms may also include: Non-specific sensory symptoms: Unusual sensory feelings such as numbness, pain, burning sensation, restlessness and fatigue can also be indicators of Parkinson disease.
Also, Seborrheic dermatitis: Parkinsons patients may notice that they have developed greasier skin, especially around the nose and eyebrows, and a greasier scalp. This symptom is usually accompanied by increased sweating.
The most common way to test for Parkinson disease is thorough physical and systemic neurological examination. This may include tests to gauge the patient’s reflexes, muscle strength, coordination, balance, gait, and smoothness of movement.
Physicians, when trying to test for the illness, may also look for a family history of Parkinson disease.