Parkinson's disease is named for Dr. James Parkinson,
who in 1817 first described the features of this illness. Features of
Parkinson's disease include tremor, slow movement (bradykinesia), and rigid
muscles (rigidity). People with parkinsonism may have Parkinson's disease or
another illness with similar symptoms.
Other conditions and diseases that cause parkinsonism may also
cause symptoms that are not seen with Parkinson's disease. These conditions may
be treated differently than Parkinson's disease. Unlike Parkinson's, some
conditions that cause parkinsonism are reversible.
Why did I develop Parkinson's disease?
What are my treatment options?
What are the pros and cons of each treatment?
What short-term and long-term side effects can I expect from the treatment? Is there anything I can do to minimize them?
Can you recommend any support groups for my family and me?
Are there any non-drug options that might help? What lifestyle modifications can I...
Parkinson's-plus syndromes are a group of
disorders characterized by the degeneration of nerve cells in different parts
of the brain. They include progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), corticobasal
degeneration (CBD), and multiple system atrophy (MSA), among others.
Parkinson's-plus syndromes have parkinsonian features as well as features that
are not associated with Parkinson's disease. These syndromes usually respond
poorly to levodopa or dopamine agonists.
Secondary or symptomatic
parkinsonism describes the syndrome of parkinsonism when it occurs as the
result of an identifiable cause. For example, certain medicines, brain
tumors, strokes, infections (such as encephalitis), and toxins (such as carbon
monoxide or manganese) can cause secondary parkinsonism.
Stages of Parkinson's disease
It may be helpful for people with Parkinson's disease and their
families to be familiar with some of the ways the disease is described. Experts
describe symptoms and stages of the disease differently.
Parkinson's disease sometimes is described as early, moderate, or
Early disease describes the stage
when a person has a mild tremor or stiffness but is able to continue work or
other normal daily activities. This often refers to a person who has been newly
diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
describes the stage when a person begins to experience limited movement. A
person with moderate Parkinson's disease may have a mild to moderate tremor
with slow movement.
Advanced disease describes the
stage when a person is significantly limited in his or her activity, despite
treatment. Daily changes in symptoms, medicine side effects that limit
treatment, and loss of independence in activities of daily living are common. A
person with advanced Parkinson's disease may have significant problems with
posture, movement, and speech.