What is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disorder marked by a loss of dopaminergic neurons in the area of the brain known as the substantia nigra. It affects an estimated one million people in the United States and 10 million worldwide. While the exact cause is largely unknown and there currently is no cure, Parkinson’s Disease is not fatal. However, untreated, it may lead to life-altering complications.
What are the symptoms?
Parkinson’s Disease is considered progressive, with symptoms often developing slowly over several years. Its symptoms may include:
- Shaking, commonly in the hands, arms, legs, jaw or head
- Stiffness of the limbs and trunk
- Difficulty walking or balancing
- Decreased coordination
- Slowness of movement
Other mental and behavioral changes including difficulty sleeping, depression, memory loss, and fatigue are also possible.
How is Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosed?
There currently is no one test to diagnose Parkinson’s disease. However, a physician trained in nervous system conditions (neurologist) is best equipped to evaluate your signs, symptoms and medical history.
At a minimum, he or she will conduct a physical and neurological exam. Your neurologist may also request a dopamine transporter (DAT) scan–a single-photon emission computerized tomography SPECT scan that can be used to support the suspicion of Parkinson’s disease.
To rule out the possibility of other conditions, other laboratory tests such as blood test and imaging test including MRI, CT, ultrasound and PET scans may be requested.
There are a myriad of options in treating Parkinson’s, starting with medications that treat different symptoms, all the way to deep brain stimulation therapies.
Contact Regional Neurological Associates
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms call Regional Neurological Associates at (718) 515-4347 to schedule an appointment today. One of our expert physicians will review your medical history and conduct a comprehensive neurological examination. With an accurate diagnosis and proper care, maintaining a great quality of life with Parkinson’s Disease is possible.