LIVING WITH PARKINSON'S
Information compiled by Phil McMullen - Dalriada Branch
WHAT IS PARKINSON'S DISEASE?
Parkinson's disease is named after the English doctor James Parkinson who published the first detailed description in an essay in 1817.
It is a progressive neurological condition with mild symptoms that advance over time. In the early stages symptoms can be so subtle that they go unnoticed leaving the disease undiagnosed for years. For patients with Parkinson's there is a reduction m the brain chemical dopamine which controls movement and mood - so simple activities like walking. talking and writing can be affected.
Dopamine is an important chemical messenger in the brain that helps to initiate movement. We don't know why the loss of dopornine occurs. This loss does not cause a dramatic change as in the case of a stroke. With Parkinson's you slowly lose the ability to do things you previously took for granted. The effect is most noticeable in movement which is why Parkinson's is also called a movement disorder. There is no known cause of Parkinson's. Investigations into environmental factors such as contaminants in food. water and and exposure to poisonous chemicals have all failed to produce an answer.
No two people have Parkinson's disease in the same way and symptoms vary widely, but there is a range of common shared characteristics. Symptoms of Parkinson's disease include tremors, rigidity or stiffness. slowness of movement and trouble with balance.
DAY TO DAY
As yet there are no drugs that will cure Parkinson's or affect the natural progression.
The available drugs reduce the symptoms by replacing the essential chemicals such as dopamine necessary for the normal transmission of nerve impulses and control of movement. Medical treatments
should be tailor - made to suit the needs of each individual patient.
Over the entire course of the illness the treatment will be monitored and fine tuned by medical professionals.
European Parkinson's Disease Foundation (EPDA)
Parkinson's Disease Foundation (PDF)
Parkinson's Association of Ireland
Parkinson's Society Canada
American Parkinson's Disease Association (APDA)
Michael J. Fox Foundation