What Is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that primarily affects the motor system. It is named after Dr. James Parkinson, who first described the condition in 1817. Parkinson’s disease gradually impairs movement and coordination due to the loss of dopamine-producing cells in a specific region of the brain called the substantia nigra.
The exact cause of Parkinson’s disease is not fully understood, but it is believed to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The loss of dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for transmitting signals that control movement, leads to the characteristic symptoms of the disease.
The primary symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include:
- Tremors: Involuntary shaking or trembling, usually starting in the hands or fingers.
- Bradykinesia: Slowness of movement and difficulty initiating movements.
- Rigidity: Stiffness or resistance in the muscles, causing reduced range of motion.
- Postural instability: Impaired balance and coordination, leading to difficulties in maintaining an upright posture and an increased risk of falls.
- Other motor symptoms: These may include freezing of gait (a sudden inability to move forward), reduced arm swing while walking, and a stooped posture.