What is Parkinson's Disease?
Parkinson's disease is a chronic and progressive disease of the central nervous system. While it traditionally was considered to affect the motor system, it is now recognized to have a range of clinical features. In addition to movement problems, there may also be neuropsychiatric and non-motor symptoms. The exact cause of Parkinson's disease is not always clear but many symptoms are thought to result from a lack of dopamine (chemical that is responsible for transmitting signals in between the nerve cells (neurons) of the brain).
The key motor features of Parkinson's disease are:
- Tremor that typically occurs at rest and may have a "pill rolling" appearance
- Stiffness or rigidity of the limbs and trunk
- Generalized slowness of movement (bradykinesia)
- Inability to keep body in stable or balance position
- Gait difficulty