Parkinson's disease is a disorder that affects the nervous system and causes problems with muscle movement. Normally, nerve cells that make a chemical called dopamine send signals to help coordinate your movements. In people who have Parkinson's disease, these cells die or do not work properly. The disease's effects get worse over time. There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but treatment can help relieve the symptoms.
People who have Parkinson's disease have problems with muscle movement. These problems may include the following:
Other symptoms of Parkinson's disease include nightmares, depression, extra saliva, speech problems, and difficulty walking, buttoning clothes, or cutting food.
Doctors don't know exactly what causes Parkinson's disease. In a small number of people, genetics seem to play a role. These people have either inherited the genes for Parkinson’s disease from a family member, or have a gene mutation. Environmental factors may also play a role. For example, long-term exposure to certain toxins, such as pesticides, may increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease, but the risk is small.
There is no cure for Parkinson's disease. But medicines can help control the symptoms of the disease, often with very good results. The most common medicine used to treat Parkinson's disease is carbidopa-levodopa, which helps increase the amount of dopamine in your brain. Other medicines, such as dopamine agonists, medicines that inhibit certain chemicals in your brain, anticholinergics, and amantadine are also available. Your doctor will recommend the best treatment for you.
In addition to medicine, your doctor may also recommend exercise or physical therapy. In some cases, surgery can also help relieve symptoms.
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff