Parkinson’s Disease (PD)
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a slowly progressive brain disease that affects movement, muscle control, and balance. PD is part of a group of conditions called motor system disorders, which are associated with the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells.
Without these dopamine-producing cells, the brain’s ability to control movement is progressively reduced. However, people with Parkinson’s can lose up to 70% of susceptible brain cells and go on for many years before symptoms become noticeable.
While symptoms vary from person to person, the most well-known symptom of Parkinson’s disease is a tremor. Other symptoms of Parkinson’s include slowness of movement, stiffness, a loss of automatic movements such as blinking and smiling, changes in speech and, in the later stages of the disease, dementia.
While we don’t yet know what causes Parkinson’s, some of the known risk factors include older age (55+), gender (men are more likely to develop PD than women) and having a family history of disease. It is currently thought that Parkinson’s disease results from a complex interaction between many factors, some of which are inherited and some of which are environmental.