PASB
PO Box 6254
Santa Barbara, CA 93160-6254
Phone:  805-683-1326
email:   kttbell@mypasb.org

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What is Parkinson's Disease?

Parkinson’s Disease (“PD”) is not a “disease” at all, but a progressive disorder of the brain decreasing the production of the neurochemical dopamine, which controls motor function. PD strikes people of all ages and ethnic groups. Over one million Americans suffer with PD.

The cause of PD is not known. There are cases where it affects multiple members in a family. It is suspected that unknown environmental factors may be involved, but that has not yet been proven. PD is not contagious.

SOME TYPICAL SIGNS/SYMPTOMS OF PD:

(Symptoms and progression varies for each individual)

  • Tremor(s) of limbs when at rest.

  • Muscle rigidity.

  • Slowness in movement.

  • Difficulty with balance and walking.

  • Difficulty with fine motor movement (i.e., handwriting, buttoning, etc.)

  • Loss of facial expression (“masking”).

  • Depression or mood swings.

  • Speech and/or swallowing problems.

  • Constipation

* MOTOR SYMPTOMS:

  • Tremor - The Motor Symptom most associated with Parkinson’s disease is tremor, which occurs often in only one hand, foot, arm, or leg. It is important to note that not all tremors are due to Parkinson’s disease

  • Rigidity - Generally known as stiffness, rigidity may cause muscle cramps and soreness, loss of arm swing when walking, smaller handwriting (also called Micrographia), decreased facial expression (also called Hypomimia), and decreased dexterity and coordination

  • Bradykinesia - Slowness of movement

  • Postural Instability - Imbalance

  • Other Motor Symptoms -

    1. Shuffling of the feet

    2. Bending forward (also called Stooped Posture)

    3. Walking issues may develop over time and mobility may become limited

* NON-MOTOR SYMPTOMS:

  • Muscle Weakness - Internal muscles may have trouble functioning. Some examples include weakened throat muscles, causing problems with swallowing, choking, drooling, and voice changes. Parkinson’s disease may also affect the gastrointestinal muscles, causing constipation, and the bladder muscles, causing urinary frequency, urgency or control issues (also called incontinence)

  • Other Symptoms -

    1. Decreased or complete loss of sense of smell (also called Anosmia)

    2. Oily skin

    3. Dandruff

    4. Excessive sweating

    5. Low blood pressure upon standing (also called Orthostatic Hypotension)

    6. Anxiety

    7. Depression

    8. Constipation

    9. Sleep disturbances

    10. Sexual dysfunction

    11. Changes in memory and intellectual function

* Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center @ http://www.thepi.org/

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