What is Parkinson's Disease?!

08/12/2010 19:40

Every day we wake up, walk over to the kitchen and/or restroom and proceed to the usual morning routine with ease.  We take these simple actions for granted day in and day out, right?  Well not everyone can, especially those living with Parkinson's.  We have healthy functioning bodies; might as well use them.

So what is Parkinson's disease?

When you think of Parkinson's you automatically think of Michael J Fox, right? You think of his uncontrollable tremors.

While the tremor may be the most well-known sign of Parkinson's, the disorder also commonly causes a slowing or freezing of movement.  Friends and family may notice that your face shows little or no expression and your arms don't swing when you walk.  Speech often becomes soft and mumbling.

It is a slow developing disorder of the nervous system that affects movement and worsens as the disease progresses.

Why the gradual loss of movement?

Parkinson's is a central nervous system disorder.  The disease is characterized by the gradual loss of dopamine in the brain.  Dopamine is a chemical messenger responsible for transmitting signals within the brain that allow for the coordination of movement.  The loss of dopamine in the brain, causes neurons to fire without normal control, resulting in the patient less able to direct or control their movement.  It is considered a movement disorder and oftentimes gets worse over time.

While there is no cure for Parkinson's disease, many different types of medicines may help relieve its symptoms.

In some cases surgery is recommended, but is not a cure.  Although younger persons can develop the disease, the disorder affects 1 in 100 people over age 60.


The cause is unknown, but it is speculated that the loss of dopamine in the brain may be caused by genetics (a single genetic mutation) which is a rare cause, by a blunt force blow to the head, or by exposure to certain chemicals.

Do what you do because you love it, and simply because you can.

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