Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's Disease (PD) is a central nervous system (CNS) condition classified as a movement disorder, given its symptoms of shaking tremor, muscle stiffness, gait disturbance and slowness of movement. These symptoms are primarily the result of degeneration of dopamine(neurotransmitter) producing cells in the mid brain. This results in abnormal stimulation of the motor circuitry within the basal ganglia.Other symptoms may include impaired handwriting and speech disturbance, falling due to postural instability,cognitive impairment and dysautonomia causing constipation, bladder dysfunction, or postural hypotension (low blood pressure upon arising). Practice guidelines recommend a neurologist to establish the clinical diagnosis, given that there are no laboratory tests to prove the diagnosis.There are other neurodegeneratve disorders which mimic PD such as multiple system atrophy (MSA), progressive supranuclear palsy > (PSP) and corticobasal degeneration (CBD). Your neurologist can evaluate for mimics such as medication induced secondary parkinsonism or Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) or atypical benign essential tremor.

Although there is yet no cure for this disease, there are multiple medications which stabilize the symptoms, such as levodopa, dopamine agonists, MAO inhibitors and others. Early on these may provide substantial relief of symptoms. Physical exercise and gait and balance physical therapy may be beneficial. In some cases of medication failure or complications surgery may be offered for deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapy. This entails implantation of electrodes into the brain and is connected to a programmable pulse generator to modify abnormal electric circuits. This can lead to better control of symptoms and a reduction in medications. Your neurologist at Neurology Associates of Fredericksburg can program the DBS device, after implantation by a trained neurosurgeon.

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The information presented on this website is intended for educational purposes only. Adherence to these guidelines will not ensure successful treatment in every situation. This information should not be considered inclusive of all accepted methods of care or exclusive of other methods of care reasonably directed to obtaining the same results. The ultimate judgment regarding the appropriateness of any specific procedure, therapy, or referral must be made by the physician in light of all circumstances presented by an individual patient.