Assisted Living and Parkinson's Disease

Assisted Living and Parkinson's Disease

Health Issues & Assisted Living

"Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder of the central nervous system affecting movement. The initial presentation is often tremors, specifically in one hand. In the brains of Parkinson’s patients, nerve cell damage causes dopamine levels to drop. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter chemical that helps transfer messages from our brains to our muscles. For example, I first think about moving my arm, and a signal is sent using dopamine to the many nerves controlling movement in my arm, causing it to move. As Parkinson’s advances, both dopamine production and nerve cells become damaged and unable to transmit signals to the nervous system and then on to muscles.

Parkinson’s is a progressive disease. Medications can substitute dopamine for some patients for a time and slow down the acceleration of progress of the symptoms, but the underlying disease process does progress. Later in the disease, slow movement (shuffling), increasing tremors, stiffness, loss of balance, loss of ability to speak, lack of control of major and minor muscle groups, and dementia can all occur."

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