What IS Parkinson’s Disease?

What is Parkinson’s Disease?  The definition, straight from the National Parkinson Foundation, is as follows:

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that progresses slowly in most people. What this means is that individuals with PD will be living with PD for twenty years or more from the time of diagnosis. While Parkinson’s disease itself is not fatal, the Center for Disease Control rated complications from the disease as the 14th top cause of death in the United States. There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s; however, your doctors will be focused and dedicated to finding treatments that help control the symptoms of PD and have a good quality of life.

Researchers have discovered that the disease affects an affected person’s whole body.  Parkinson’s can present itself in many ways, including:

  • Shakiness, poor balance, shuffling foot steps
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Soft speech
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Blurred vision or double vision
  • Incontinence
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Digestion issues
  • Impact on libido
  • Extremely dry or extremely oily skin
  • Orthostatic hypotension (makes you feel light-headed when changing positions
  • Pain
  • Fatigue

No  two affected people get the same combo-platter of symptoms.  For that reason, its referred to as a designer disease.

Research is on-going to find the cause of Parkinson’s as well as drugs to ameliorate the symptoms or slow down the progression.

This is in no way meant to be a medical explanation or an authoritative paper, but rather a brief overview.  For a more technical or complete explanation, try the National Parkinson Foundation, the Michael J. Fox Foundation or the National Institute of Health (this last link offers an extensive and thorough description of symptoms, causes, diagnoses, treatment, and research).

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