Parkinson's disease is a health condition most common in older people although it can be diagnosed at any age. The disease is the result of the nerve cells degenerating over time in a portion of the brain. That portion of the brain controls bodily movements. The first symptoms of Parkinson's disease can be difficult to notice; it may be something as simple as feeling weak or stiff in certain parts of the body. The physical shaking may worsen and the muscles may stiffen as well. The person's balance my get worse. It's likely that some behavioral conditions may change and depression or emotional problems may start to affect the individual.

Parkinson's disease often occurs after the age of 50 and before the age of 65. This disease is more common in men than it is in women. The medication that is prescribed can help immensely in treating the given symptoms and preventing the disease from turning into something life threatening.

Cause of Parkinson's disease

Physical movements are controlled by certain parts of the brain called the basal ganglia. The cells I this portion of the brain consist of dopamine and acetylcholine, and there must be a perfect balance of substances. Both of these substances are involved in controlling the nerve impulses. During this disease the cells that produce dopamine start to degenerate and it sets off the neurotransmitters.

The researchers of Parkinson's Disease believe that genes play a huge role in the breakdown of bodily cells. There are some rare cases in which this disease is the result of a virus infection. The person may have been exposed to some toxins in the environment. There are many toxins that are harmful to the body such as carbon monoxide or metal manganese. For the most part the cause of this is completely unknown.

This is a form of Parkinsonism which refers to symptoms that are commonly associated with the disease. Knowing the difference between the two is important because the causes of "parkinsonism" can be treated and others may not respond to the given treatment. The following are other potential causes of "parkinsonism":

  • Brain Tumor
  • Excess Brain Fluid
  • Inflammation in the Brain
  • Repetitive Head Trauma
  • Thyroid Disorder
  • Stroke
  • Exposure to Deadly Toxins
  • Illegal Drug Use

This form of Parkinson's could be present in people who have some sort of neurological disorder. Some disorders are Alzheimer's or ALS.

Parkinson's disease Symptoms

Parkinson's is a movement disorder. It can get worse slowly. Some people are able to see when the first set of symptoms begins they may have a hard time walking and their muscles may be very stiff. Other people may notice that there is a tremor in certain parts of their body. Since this is a progressive disorder it can continue to get worse although medication helps immensely. The following are some of the general Parkinson's disease symptoms:

  • Abnormal stiffness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Strange finger motion
  • Difficulty balancing
  • Bad Posture
  • Less Facial expressions and blinking
  • Slow movements such as walking or getting out of bed

If you think that you are experiencing any symptoms that are related to Parkinson's disease you may want to see a doctor. Taking medication during the early stages can be very helpful.

Parkinson's Disease Warning Signs

When the first signs of Parkinson's disease begin they start off as being very mild. Over time the symptoms may worsen. It's likely that the person feels very tired and uncomfortable. A tremor in the hand might be felt and they might have a hard time standing. The way that they speak may become much softer and their handwriting might change. Anxiety may come on suddenly. The person may forget their words or train of thought. It's very likely that family members begin to notice these changes before the person does.

As the disease gets worse it may get in the way of many activities. All people with this disease are going to experience almost all of the symptoms whether they are mild or severe.

Common Parkinson's Symptoms

The person may experience their muscles becoming rigid and they may feel as if they are unable to actually relax. People who have been diagnosed with this disease experience stiffness. The cause of the stiffness is the muscles tensing and the body being unable to move freely. It's likely that aches in muscles will be experienced as well.

Tremors will begin in the hands and the arms. Tremors are also likely to occur in the foot or areas of the face, such as the jaw. With a tremor it may involve weird finger movements when the hand is at rest of when the person is undergoing a lot of stress. During the earliest stages of the disease it may affect one side of the body. It's important to note that not every experiences a tremor.

Bradykinesia is when activity and movement begins to slow down. This is a result of the brain and the way that it is transmitting messages. In an attempt to send messages out to certain parts of the body there is difficulty. The symptoms may be very stressful for some people being that they kick in at unpredictable times. One moment the person may be moving around very easily and don't need help, the next they may feel stuck. This can have an effect on day to day activities and it can make common routines a bit more difficult. This may have an effect on the face muscles as well.

The person may experience a change in their Gait. They may be unable to swing their arms as they are walking and they may take shorter steps. They may stop walking altogether and experience a moment in which they are "frozen."

Other Symptoms:

  • Loss of Memory
  • Handwriting is different
  • Constipation
  • Loss of Balance
  • Motor Skills are lost
  • Shake their head
  • Voice changes
  • Posture changes
  • Lean forward and backwards (causing falls)
  • Fatigue
  • Dementia
  • Dandruff or Skin problems
  • Drooling
  • Problems Sleeping
  • Problems Swallowing
  • Difficulty Urinating
  • Sexual Problems (Dysfunction)

If you are experiencing these symptoms it doesn't mean that you have Parkinson's. There are some similar conditions that have some of the same symptoms that Parkinson's disease illustrates:

  • Anti-psychotic drugs
  • Aging
  • Depression
  • Degenerative Brain Disorders

It's essential that you have a check up with your doctor if you feel that you are experiencing any of the following symptoms. The doctors will provide you with the correct diagnosis and they will create a treatment plan that works for you. If you have questions relating to Parkinson's you can consult a specialist who focuses on movement disorders.