Parkinson’s disease occurs when the dopamine-producing nerve cells in the brain die or become impaired. Dopamine allows for the smooth, coordinated movement of the body’s muscles. As these cells become damaged, movement becomes jerky and uncontrolled. The symptoms of this degenerative disease appear when approximately 80% of these cells are damaged.
If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, the multi-specialty team at SSM Health Neurosciences will work closely with you to create a treatment plan focused on providing relief from your symptoms and maintaining your quality of life.
Signs & Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease usually develops gradually, often starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. As the disease progresses, key signs include:
- Tremor (shaking)
- Slowness of movement
- Rigidity (stiffness)
- Difficulty with balance
While the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease result from a lack of dopamine, we do not fully understand what causes the nerve cells to deteriorate. Research of this condition is ongoing.
If you notice any of these symptoms, make an appointment with an SSM Health provider as soon as possible. Since Parkinson’s disease is progressive, early treatment can help slow the worsening of this condition.
Treating Parkinson’s Disease
There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease. However, a variety of medications can provide dramatic symptom relief. Additional treatment options include:
- Lifestyle modifications, like a healthful diet and regular exercise
- Physical therapy to improve strength, balance and coordination
- Speech therapy to minimize or restore loss of speech
- Surgery, such as deep brain stimulation or thalamotomy
Our expert team understands that being diagnosed with a progressive condition like Parkinson’s disease is incredibly stressful. If you or a loved one has Parkinson’s disease you can trust in the compassionate care provided by SSM Health Neurosciences. Make an appointment today to learn how our team can support you as you face this condition.