Dealing With Parkinson’s Disease: A Guide For Patients And Families

Parkinson’s Disease is an ongoing, progressive disease of the nervous system that affects movement. Millions of people worldwide are diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, and though there is no cure for it, there are treatment options to help manage symptoms. The cause of Parkinson’s disease is presently not known, but research attributes the disease to both genetic and environmental factors. About ten to fifteen percent of cases of Parkinson’s Disease are considered genetic forms, so the chance of getting the disease if it runs in the family is low. Parkinson’s Disease usually occurs after the age of sixty.

The Symptoms Of Parkinson’s Disease

People with Parkinson’s Disease will often experience symptoms differently. The main symptoms include tremors, slowness of movement (bradykinesia), the stiffness of the trunk and limbs (rigidity), impaired coordination and balance (postural instability), the loss of automatic movements, and changes in writing and speech. Tremors usually begin in the fingers or hands even when at rest and the forefinger and thumb may rub each other in a “pill-rolling” tremor. Bradykinesia results in tasks feeling more difficult and taking much longer to do. Walking steps may shorten, and the feet may drag. Stiff muscles can reduce the range of motion and cause pain. The posture may stoop, and balance may weaken when standing or walking. Speech changes may result in reduced volume, slurring, hesitating or speaking too quickly and writing may become difficult.