What Is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease can affect a person in various ways. It can impair motor function, cause balance problems, and affect daily activities. In the early stages, symptoms may be minimal, but as the disease progresses, they become more noticeable and affect daily life. Parkinson’s stage three symptoms include slower movement and increasing difficulty with balance. At this point, the patient may need help standing, and can no longer live alone.

This disease is most common in older adults, but it can affect younger adults. Men are more likely to develop the disease than women. Although there is no known cause, researchers think that genetic factors can increase the risk of developing the disorder. Environmental toxins, such as pesticides and other chemicals used in agriculture, may also be linked to increased risk. While specific toxins have not been identified, ongoing research may help find the exact cause.

Diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is based on the patient’s health history and physical examination. Imaging tests may be ordered to rule out other disorders and confirm the diagnosis. In the early stages of the disease, symptoms may involve only one side of the body, but the disease may progress to both sides.

There are many medicines to treat Parkinson’s disease. Some may improve symptoms dramatically. Other treatments include surgery and deep brain stimulation. Deep brain stimulation involves placing electrodes in specific areas of the brain that control movement.

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