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Published on June 05, 2018

Q&A about Parkinson’s Disease with Dr. Tat

Q&A About Parkinson's Disease with Dr. Tat

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson's Disease is a neurological condition that impacts movement. Common symptoms include tremors, stiff muscles, slowed movements, and issues with balance and walking. There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s, but we’re learning more and more about the disease and how to treat its symptoms. At Cone Health, we have seen enormous success with our treatment approach, including surgical procedures that result in profoundly reduced symptoms of the disease.

What causes it?

Parkinson’s disease is due to the loss of dopamine-producing neurons which are in the region of the brain called substantia nigra. Dopamine is responsible for signaling the brain to allow for coordination and movement. The loss of dopamine results in neurons firing without normal control and this impacts individual’s ability to direct and control their movements.

What are the treatment options or therapies?

What are early symptoms of Parkinson’s I should be on the lookout for?

Early warning signs of Parkinson’s disease include tremor or shaking, decreased size of handwriting, loss of smell, trouble sleeping including sudden movements during sleep, difficulty moving or walking, constipation, voice is softer or lower, masked face, dizziness or fainting, and stooping and hunching over. Parkinson’s Foundation has a publication that further describes these early warning signs. The information can be found at http://parkinson.org/understanding-parkinsons/10-early-warning-signs

My grandmother had Parkinson’s. Does this increase my chances of getting it?

It is fairly rare to directly inherit Parkinson’s disease. There have only been 10 to 15 percent of cases of Parkinson’s disease that have been connected to a genetic cause. The majority of cases of Parkinson’s disease are classified as idiopathic or sporadic, meaning the cause is unknown. For additional information visit https://www.michaeljfox.org/understanding-parkinsons/living-with-pd/topic.php?genetics

What can I do to decrease my chances of acquiring the disease?

There is nothing that can be done to decrease the chances of acquiring the disease. If you have concerns or any early warning signs as described above, please consult your health care provider to further discuss.

About the Author

Rebecca Sue Tat, DO is a Neurologist with LeBauer Neurology