Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects dopamine-producing (“dopaminergic”) neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra.
Symptoms generally develop slowly over years. The progression of symptoms varies from one person to another due to the diversity of the disease. People with PD may experience:
- Tremors, mainly while at rest and described as pill rolling tremor in hands.
- Bradykinesia, or slowness of movement
- Limb rigidity
- Gait and balance problems
The cause of PD remains largely unknown. Although there is no cure for the disease, treatment options vary and include medications and surgery. While Parkinson’s itself is not fatal, disease complications can be serious. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rated complications from PD as the 14th cause of death in the United States.
The first step to living well with Parkinson’s disease is understanding the biological and symptomatic aspects of the disease and how it progresses.