Many people with Parkinson’s disease have a stooped posture and slow movements. Other signs include short strides and reduced arm movement. Some people with the disease can even experience uncontrolled writhing movements. Fortunately, medications for Parkinson’s disease can help people manage these symptoms and maintain a good quality of life.
The disease affects nerve cells in the basal ganglia, which control the body’s balance and flexibility. In the early stages, symptoms do not interfere with daily tasks and may only affect one side of the body. However, symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can progress over months or years. As the disease progresses, muscle stiffness will become more significant and will make it difficult to perform daily tasks, such as walking or climbing stairs.
Most people with Parkinson’s disease are treated with medications that stimulate the brain’s nerve cells to produce more dopamine. These drugs are given by injection or in pill form. In some cases, these medications can cause side effects. Therefore, patients should discuss any side effects or concerns with their healthcare provider.
While familial Parkinson’s disease accounts for a small percentage of cases, most sufferers experience sporadic PD. In sporadic cases, genetic predisposition and environmental risk factors play a pivotal role in the development of the disorder. For instance, genetic predisposition is linked to the accumulation of free radicals, while environmental risk factors include exposure to pesticides and herbicides. Ultimately, no single test can confirm the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, but blood tests and imaging exams may be helpful in ruling out other conditions that may be contributing to the symptoms. A careful physical examination and medical history are also needed to make the diagnosis.