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. The most characteristic problems caused by Parkinson’s disease include shaking, tremor at rest, balance problems, stiffness, and slowness of movement.
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 patients, it may be due to genetic, environmental, or a combination of both causes. 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.
Approximately 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease every year. At any given time, about 400,000 people in the US are struggling with this condition.
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