Background: Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, progressive disorder that affects the motor system. It usually develops in men and women after the age of 50. Sometimes Parkinson’s Disease can be hereditary. Parkinson’s was known in ancient times, however it was not officially considered a recognized medical condition until 1817 when Doctor James Parkinson published an essay called essay was called "An Essay on the Shaking Palsy” that strongly encouraged people to study the disease. In the 1960s, researchers discovered that low dopamine levels were linked to Parkinson’s disease, leading to the first effective treatment of the disease.
When about 60-80 percent of the neurons that make dopamine, a chemical that regulates the body’s movements and emotions, shut down, the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease begin to appear.
• Shaking limbs
• Slowness in voluntary movements
• Stiff muscles
• Poor balance and coordination
• Slow blinking
• Difficulty swallowing
• Muscle aches and pains
• Slowed, quiet, monotonous speech
• Postural instability
• Muscle degeneration
One step in diagnosing Parkinson’s is undergoing a neurological examination. In the neurological examination, the doctor observes the patients movements and coordination carefully and asks family and friends of the patient about his or her symptoms. There are no definitive tests that can diagnose a person with Parkinson’s, so a doctor must judge how well the symptoms and results of the neurological examination match up to that of Parkinson’s disease.
Medical Treatment: There is no known cure for Parkinson’s, but. Some medications can increase the amount of dopamine that is in the brain in order to suppress the symptoms. There are also surgeries to help ease the symptoms.
Psychosocial treatment: There are support groups to help people cope with their disease.
The outcome of treatments for Parkinson’s varies from person
References: Parkinson ’s disease (2011). Retrieved August 31, 2012 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001762/ Parkinson’s Disease Information Page: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) (2012) Retrieved August 31, 2012 from http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/parkinsons_disease/parkinsons_disease.htm National Parkinson Foundation- What is Parkinson’s (PD)? (2012) Retreived August 31, 2012 from http://www.parkinson.org/Parkinson-s-Disease/PD-101/What-is-Parkinson-s-disease Movement Disorder and Parkinson’s- Washington D.C. (N.D.) Retrieved September 5, 2012 from http://www.medstargeorgetown.org/body_dept.cfm?id=1236&gclid=CIOWxbKPkrICFWlnOgodZTgAhg Diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease (2010) Retrieved September 5, 2012 from http://www.umm.edu/parkinsons/diagnosis.htm