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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 a patient's movement. Millions of individuals worldwide are diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. The cause of Parkinson's disease is presently not known. However, research attributes the disease to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Age also plays a role. Most cases of Parkinson's disease beginning after an individual is sixty years old.

Unfortunately, there is currently no Parkinson's disease cure. There are, however, treatments for Parkinson's disease. Many patients take Parkinson's disease medications to control their symptoms. Occupational therapy is also a huge part of treating Parkinson's disease. Overall, this condition requires intense treatment and symptom management for patients to live a full life.

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The Symptoms To Watch For

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Individuals with Parkinson's disease will often experience symptoms differently. However, there are similarities in the main types of symptoms seen in this condition. These symptoms include tremors, slowness of movement (bradykinesia), the stiffness of the trunk and limbs (rigidity), and impaired coordination and balance (postural instability). Patients may also experience the loss of automatic movements and changes in writing and speech. 

Tremors usually begin in the patient's fingers or hands even when at rest. Their forefinger and thumb may rub each other in a 'pill-rolling' tremor. Bradykinesia results in tasks feeling more challenging and taking much longer to do. An individual's steps may shorten, and their feet may drag. Stiff muscles can reduce the range of motion and cause pain. The patient's posture may stoop, and balance may weaken when standing or walking. Speech changes may result in reduced volume, slurring, hesitating, or speaking too quickly. Writing may become difficult.

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