Parkinson’s Disease- An Overview
Parkinson’s disease affects the way a person moves. It is caused by a breakdown in the brain’s nerve cells that make a neurotransmitter (chemical messenger) called dopamine. Dopamine signals the part of the brain controlling movement, which lets your muscles move smoothly and in unison.
Common symptoms include tremor (shaking) affecting the extremities, stiff muscles, slower movement, and problems with balance. In the later stages of the disease, the patient may develop a blank expression, problems with speech, and a decline in mental acuity.
About one million Americans live with Parkinson’s disease (PD), which is more than the combined number of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and Lou Gehrig’s disease (or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis).