Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of central nervous system. This disease has neurodegenerative character and involves biochemical collapse of the dopamine-producing neurons in the area of basal ganglia in the brain. This process causes progressive movement disorder and damages functioning of extrapyramidal system of human body, where the connection between muscles and neurons of the brain is established. The disease was named after physician James Parkinson, who described its symptoms and specific details in his work Essay on the Shaking Palsy (1917).

Parkinsons DiseaseCharacteristic physical symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are the following: rigidity in face and tremors in hands, bradykinesia (slow movements), akinesia (inability to start movements), hypophonia (problems with speaking), extreme tiresome and weakness in muscles, lack of balance and poor coordination abilities, slowness in speech and breathing, unconscious closure of an eye, constipation, difficulties in swallowing, and many others.

Psychological and sensory signs are memory losses, cognitive disturbances, depression (it happens in every second case), sleep disturbances, anosmia (poor sense of smell), contrast sensitivity or other disturbances of sensory system, dizziness, and others. In some complicated situations Parkinson’s disease carriers may demonstrate more difficult psychological symptoms, like panic attacks, anxiety and dementia, along with failures of functioning of bowel and bladder. As a rule, symptoms progress gradually and slowly.

The incidence of Parkinson’s disease in the United States is approximately 1 per 625 persons, or about 500,000 people. Annually about 50,000 new cases of Parkinson’s disease are registered in our country. Parkinson’s disease affects men slightly more than women, mostly after age 55-60. The probability to suffer from Parkinson’s disease is growing with age, as statistic indicates: only 10% of people with Parkinson’s disease are under age 45-55 and more than 30% of people with Parkinson’s disease are above 75-80. In many cases symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are shown as one-sided or asymmetrical, but not always.

Parkinson’s disease has a range of related diseases, called Parkinson-Plus diseases, which include Secondary Parkinsonism, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, Shy-Drager Syndrome, Striatonigral Degeneration, Corticobasal Degeneration, Olivopontocerebellar Degeneration, and others. Interesting, that the diseases from Parkinson’s disease group are less common in big cities and urban territories, at the same time they are much more spread in Europe, less spread in Asia and Far East, and rather rare in African continent due to resistive ancestry.

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