A disorder caused by the diminished production of the chemical in the brain called dopamine. The effects of this decrease alter motor function. Patient symptoms include a tremor of the hand, problems with balance and gait, and problems involving movements of the mouth and face. Eventually all movement is impaired and activities of daily living become increasingly difficult. The medications prescribed for Parkinson's Disease are designed to replace the diminished amounts of dopamine produced by the brain. They are effective in slowing down the progression of the disorder and easing the symptoms associated with PD. Unfortunately, many patients are plagued with hallucinations as a result of this medication. Hallucinations can be diminished by altering the patient's medication regime. As the disease progresses problems with gait become severe. The patient developes a "shuffling gait". The patient will begin to lean and walk forward rapidly while their feet slide across the floor. Once the patient begins to walk, it is difficult for them to stop on demand. This can be dangerous. Generally, when a patient has progressed to exhibit this problem, his doctor may prescribe him an assistive walking devise as well as training on how to properly use it. This greatly aids in preventing injury to the patient. Parkinson's Disease can be challanging, but the patient can expect to live a productive life with proper medical treatment.
The Parkinson's Web: A very comprehensice site of information and support.
Parkinson's Disease: A teaching presentation on Parkinson's Disease.
Parkinson's Disease: links to Parkinson's resources on the net.
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