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What is Parkinson's Disease?

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What is Parkinson's Disease?

Hearing that you or someone you love have, or even might have, Parkinson's disease is a scary thing. It's a condition that most know about, and that most know is serious. However, with proper diagnosis and treatment, a person can have a good quality of life. But what is Parkinson's disease, exactly? What are the symptoms to look for, what treatments are good, and what is the prognosis? Read on, and find out.

What Is Parkinson's Disease?

brain neuron connections

Parkinson's disease is a disease that is in the central nervous system. It will affect movement, normally causing tremors and other muscular problems. It is unfortunately common, affecting more than 200,000 people in the United States every year. It mostly affects people over the age of forty, though it has been observed in ages six years old and older. While this condition does have treatments that can help, it is unfortunately not curable.

What Are the Symptoms?

hand strained muscles

The most common symptom of Parkinson's disease is the trademark tremor that most people associate with Parkinson's disease. The tremor can occur in both the hands and the limbs, and can occur even when a person is at rest. A person may also experience muscular problems, such as stiff muscles, difficulty standing, involuntary movements, muscle rigidity, and difficulty with bodily movements. There are also cognitive problems, such as amnesia and confusion, most often in the evening hours.

Who Is Susceptible?

old couple on swingset

Those that are most susceptible are those in the forty year old and older demographic; men and women appear to have it almost equally. However, there are those who are younger who are found to have Parkinson's disease. You will likely have a great chance of actually having Parkinson's disease if someone in your family has been found to have had it. So, it's prudent to study up on your family health history.

How is it Diagnosed?

woman looking at mri head scan

Parkinson's disease is always diagnosed by a medical professional. Doctors take this condition very seriously, and are likely to want to act quickly, so be prepared for a rapid course of events. Imaging and other tests will likely be done, so that your doctor and you are both certain that it really is Parkinson's disease and not something else. You may have to return for tests later. Remember:  The sooner you get diagnosed, the better.

Treatment

pills medicine

There are a few different medications that your doctor may try to slow the progress of this disease. These include dopamine promoters, anti-depressants, and cognition-enhancing medications. These will all help with the brain problems causing some of the worst symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Your doctor may also prescribe anti-tremor medications, to control any tremors, or antidepressants, to help with any dopamine levels. Physical exercise and physical therapy might also help the prognosis of this condition.

Parkinson's disease is a very serious problem, and is unfortunately a common one. Though there is no cure, there are treatments that can slow and ease the symptoms that it can cause. Early treatment is always best.

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