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Parkinson's disease is a gradually progressive degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. Parkinson's disease belongs to a group of conditions called movement disorders. There are 4 characteristic problems caused by Parkinson's disease, including tremor at rest, balance problems, stiffness, and slowness of movement.

The Central Nervous System


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Parkinson's disease occurs when areas of the brain, including an area called the substantia nigra, is slowly destroyed. The exact reason for this destruction is not completely known. In some people, it may be related to genetics, environment, or a combination of both. The end result is a deprivation in the brain of an important neurochemical, called dopamine. Dopamine helps regulate movement, and its loss leads to increased tone, rigidity, and slowness of movement. Lack of dopamine results in the symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease.

What are the risk factors for Parkinson’s disease?
What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease?
How is Parkinson’s disease diagnosed?
What are the treatments for Parkinson’s disease?
Are there screening tests for Parkinson’s disease?
What can I do to reduce my risk of Parkinson's disease?
What questions should I ask my doctor?
What is it like to live with Parkinson’s disease?
Where can I get more information about Parkinson’s disease?

References:

NINDS Parkinson's disease information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/parkinsons_disease/parkinsons_disease.htm. Updated June 2, 2016. Accessed June 16, 2016.

Obeso JA, Rodriguez-Oroz MC, Goetz CG, et al. Missing pieces in the Parkinson’s disease puzzle. Nature Medicine. 2010;16(6):653-661.

Parkinson disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 25, 2016. Accessed June 16, 2016.

Parkinson disease. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic-disorders/movement-and-cerebellar-disorders/parkinson-disease. Updated September 2015. Accessed June 16, 2016.

Parkinson's disease. American Association of Neurological Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.aans.org/en/Patient%20Information/Conditions%20and%20Treatments/Parkinsons%20Disease.aspx. Accessed June 16, 2016.

What is Parkinson's disease? Parkinson’s Disease Foundation website. Available at: http://www.pdf.org/about_pd. Accessed June 16, 2016.



Last reviewed June 2016 by Rimas Lukas, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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