Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurologic disease that affects the central nervous system resulting in motor (movement) symptoms that can include tremors, rigidity and balance problems. In Parkinson’s Disease, brain cells are no longer able to produce the chemical dopamine which causes the symptoms.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
Patients with Parkinson’s Disease may not show symptoms at first, but as the disease progresses, symptoms will gradually increase and worsen. Symptoms are usually seen between ages 50-60, although they may be seen in younger patients as well. The following list includes symptoms seen in the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease:
- Tremors (shaking) of hands, arms or legs
- Rigidity (stiffness) of muscles
- Slowed movements
- Problems with balance
- Problems with gait (walking), not lifting feet up
- Unexplained falls
- Masked (inexpressive) face
- Increasingly soft speech
- Smaller handwriting
Detection of Parkinson’s Disease
DMH utilizes brain imaging called a DaTscan test to assist in the evaluation of adult patients with suspected Parkinson’s Disease. Through this imaging, we are able to help differentiate between patients who have Parkinson’s disease and those who display similar symptoms called essential tremor.
Although Parkinson’s Disease is not considered curable at this time, there are many medications available to help manage the symptoms of the illness.