Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's Disease:  This slowly progressive, degenerative neurologic disorder. This disorder is one of the most common crippling disorder in the US.  Deterioration progresses for an average of 10 years, at which time secondary disorders occurs such as pneumonia, aspiration or some other infection which can lead to death.  Parkinson's disease affects men more often than women.

Cause:  Uncertain.  Dopamine deficiency prevents affected brain cells from performing their normal inhibitory function within the central nervous system

Symptoms:

Insidious tremor that begins in the fingers (unilateral pill roll tremor), increases during stress or anxiety and decreases with purposeful movement and sleep

Muscle rigidity causing resistance to passive muscle stretching, which may be uniform or jerky

Difficulty walking (gait lacks normal parallel motion and may be retropulsive or propulsive)

High-pitched monotone voice

Drooling

Masklike facial expression with poor blink reflex and wide-open eyes

Walks with body bent forward (loss of positive control)

Slurred speech

Oculogyric crises (eyes are fixed upward, with involuntary tonic movements)

Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)

Treatment:

No cure at present

Treatment seeks to relieve symptoms and keep the patient functional as long as possible.

Drug therapy
Physical therapy
Stereotactic neurosurgery

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