Parkinson's disease (PD) is a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that affects the motor system. It is characterized by bradykinesia, rigidity, resting tremor, and postural instability. The primary symptoms are caused by a lack of dopamine in an area of the brain called substantia nigra.
When this happens, neurons cannot function normally, and they can no longer send signals to other parts of the brain. This leads to impaired movements and motor skill disorders such as tremors, stiffness or rigidity in muscles, slow movements, and balance problems.
Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder. Some of the non-motor effects on your body are depression and sleep problems. As this degeneration progresses over time, symptoms get worse. You might notice these symptoms as you try to do everyday tasks like walking, writing, or getting dressed.
There are treatments available to help manage these symptoms, but there is no cure for this condition yet. The brain controls all of our body movements, so there is no going back when nerve cells in the part of the brain that controls movement die or become impaired. This is very common in people who have Parkinson’s disease.
There are things you can do to help manage your symptoms even before treatment begins. You can join programs that focus on balance training and strength-building exercises for both upper and lower limbs. You can also go for physical therapy sessions that improve coordination between your arms, legs, and trunk muscles.
In addition to medication treatments for managing Parkinson’s, there are also non-medication therapies available. Some of the more challenging aspects of living with Parkinson's disease, such as tremor control or reducing muscle rigidity, can be managed through speech therapy, yoga, or tai chi and the support of a loved one.
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