Q. What is Parkinson's Disease?
- Parkinson's Disease is a degenerative neurological disease which primarily impacts the specific part of the brain (substantia nigra) which produces the neurotransmitter, dopamine.
Q. What are the symptoms of Parkinson's?
- Trembling (tremor), stooped posture, muscular stiffness (rigidity), short shuffling steps, speaking softly in a rapid tone, poor balance, poor handwriting, and slowness of body movements (bradykinesia).
Q. What causes Parkinson's Disease?
- The cause of Parkinson's Disease is not known. Some researchers believe it may result from toxins, head traumas or strokes. Parkinson's Disease may also have a genetic link.
Q. How is Parkinson's Diagnosed?
- Neurologists diagnose Parkinson's by medical history and careful clinical examination. Often, tests are conducted to rule out other conditions, which may resemble Parkinson's.
Q. Why does Parkinson's occur?
- While researchers move closer to understanding the cause, the symptoms of Parkinson's appear when there is not enough dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a naturally occurring chemical that allows nerve cells to transmit messages between each other and then to muscles to facilitate normal movement. For people with Parkinson's, many of these cells, contained in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra, have died -- and the remaining cells cannot produce enough dopamine.
Q. How prevalent is Parkinson's?
- Parkinson's Disease is believed to affect approximately one million persons in the United States and nearly 100,000 people in Canada. It affects both men and women across ethnic lines. It is more common as one travels away from the equator. It is more common in rural areas of industrialized countries and industrialized areas of rural countries. The incidence increases with age, 20% of patients may be diagnosed under the age of 50 and 5-10% under the age of 40.
- 1 in 300 people in Canada and the United States has Parkinson's.
Q. Can Parkinson's Disease be cured?
- While there is presently no cure for Parkinson's Disease, available medications control the slow decline in function and manage Parkinson's Disease symptoms quite effectively.
Q. What medications are used to treat Parkinson's Disease?
- There are several medications available for managing Parkinson's Disease. These are used alone and in combination. These medications include Eldepryl11 Capsules, 5mg selegilinee hydrochloride),Sinemet22 levodopaacarbidopaa), dopamineagonistss includingParlodel33 bromocriptineemesylatee) andPermaxx4 pergolideemesylatee) and others.
Q. What treatment is available?
- The prescribed treatment deals with the symptoms of having Parkinson's. The best symptomatic treatment options include drug therapy, surgery, and physical therapy. These options need to be explored based on how severely the symptoms of Parkinson's are interfering with day-to-day quality of life. Generally, the first method of symptom control is a combination of drug therapy and physical therapy.
- Drugs alleviate the symptoms but do not halt the progression. As symptoms advance, more medication is needed. While treatment does enable people to function better, it is not perfect and can cause side effects. Ongoing active research is focused on finding more effective treatment.
Q. What should I do if a family member, or I, display symptoms?
- Contact your doctor immediately for a very careful physical examination and assessment of family history, and follow up with the Parkinson Society Canada.
Q. What kind of rehabilitation is available?
- People with Parkinson's can greatly benefit by incorporating some type of physical and speech therapy into the management plan for dealing with their symptoms. Consultation with an occupational therapist can also prove beneficial in dealing with day to day living issues.
Q. Why should Parkinson's be my charity of choice?
- Parkinson's is the second most common neuro degenerative disorder, a chronic neurological disease that generally affects people in the latter half of life with symptoms such as tremor, muscle rigidity, slowness of movement, impaired speech and difficulty with balance, walking and fine movements.
- Donor dollars go to national peer-reviewed research, which will improve treatment and help us fund a cure for over 100,000 Canadians.
- Significant strides in research are providing hope that within mere decades we may see Parkinson's eradicated.
- Your contribution will help us provide advocacy and facilitate education, research and a broad range of vital services.
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