What is Parkinson's Disease?

What is Parkinson's Disease? It is a nervous system disease which falls into the category of motor system diseases or movement disorders because it primarily affects motor control and its primary manifestations affect movement. Parkinson's affects about 1.5 million Americans currently and approximately 50,000 new cases are diagnosed annually.

The disease leads to a loss of neurons, the nerve cells in the brain, in specific locations, particularly a large group of cells called the substantia nigra. This nucleus is part of the basal ganglia which is important principally for coordinating and controlling the initiation of movement. Therefore, as these cells are lost, the symptoms that become apparent are generally disorders of movement and its initiation. Common symptoms that are classic for Parkinson's disease include tremor (shakiness at rest), rigidity and slowed movements (bradykinesia) and others.

Parkinson's primarily affects older individuals and its incidence increases with age. Although its initial symptoms primarily affect movement, as it progresses it can involve other functions of the brain including cognition and lead to a form of dementia.



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Important Note: This site is not intended to offer medical advice. Every patient is different, and only your personal physician can help to counsel you about what is best for your situation. What we offer is general reference information about various disorders and treatments for your education.

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