Parkinson’s disease is a chronic motor/nervous system disorder that occurs when the cells that produce dopamine become destroyed or severely damaged. Dopamine is a chemical that sends signals to the brain to control movement. As these cells diminish and the disease progresses, patients gradually lose control of their ability to manage their movements.
At Texas Neurosurgery, we can use deep brain stimulation to treat Parkinson’s disease.
What causes Parkinson’s disease?
Why some people develop Parkinson’s while others don’t is a mystery. The breakdown of dopamine cells is thought to be linked to abnormal genes in some patients. Scientists are also studying aging and environmental factors as causes. The disease definitely has an age-related component, as it is most common in patients over the age of 50.
What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease?
Symptoms start gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. Tremors are common, but the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement.
Symptoms can be different for everyone. Early signs may be mild or go unnoticed. Symptoms often begin on one side of the body and usually remain worse on that side, even after symptoms spread to affect both sides.
Parkinson’s signs and symptoms may include:
- Tremor — A tremor, or shaking, usually begins in a limb, often your hand or fingers. You may rub your thumb and forefinger back and forth, known as a pill-rolling tremor. Your hand may tremble when it’s at rest.
- Slowed movement — Over time, the disease may slow your movement, making simple tasks difficult and time-consuming. Your steps may become shorter when you walk. You may drag your feet when you walk.
- Rigid muscles — Muscle stiffness may occur in any part of your body. The stiff muscles can be painful and limit your range of motion.
- Impaired posture and balance — Your posture may become stooped, or you may have balance problems.
- Loss of automatic movements — You can begin to lose ability to perform unconscious movements, including blinking, smiling, or swinging your arms when walking.
- Changes in speech — You may speak softly, quickly, slur, or hesitate before talking. You may lose the usual inflections, speaking in a monotone.
- Writing difficulty — It becomes hard to write. The size of your letters becomes smaller as well.
If you have Parkinson’s disease, our board-certified neurosurgeons at Texas Neurosurgery may be able to use deep brain stimulation to help with your condition. Give us a call at (214) 823-2052 to schedule a consultation.