Parkinson’s disease

Alternative Names

Paralysis agitans; Shaking palsy

Definition of Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the brain that leads to shaking () and , movement, and coordination.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Parkinson’s disease most often develops after age 50. It is one of the most common nervous system disorders of the elderly. Sometimes Parkinson’s disease occurs in younger adults. It affects both men and women.

Symptoms

The disorder may affect one or both sides of the body. How much function is lost can vary.

Signs and tests

The health care provider may be able to diagnose Parkinson’s disease based on your symptoms and a physical examination. However, the symptoms can be difficult to assess, particularly in the elderly. The signs (tremor, change in muscle tone, problems walking, unsteady posture) become more clear as the illness progresses.

Treatment

There is no known cure for Parkinson’s disease. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms.

Expectations (prognosis)

Untreated, the disorder will get worse until a person is totally disabled. Parkinson’s may lead to a deterioration of all brain functions, and an early death.

Review

Daniel Kantor, MD, Medical Director of Neurologique, Ponte Vedra, FL and President of the Florida Society of Neurology (FSN). Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 10/4/2010

Substantia nigra and Parkinson
Central nervous system

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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