What is Parkinson's disease?
Parkinson's disease is a degenerative condition of the brain that causes problems with controlling your movements, as well as a range of other symptoms.
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There are many symptoms of Parkinson's disease and they vary from person to person. The main symptoms include tremor or uncontrollable shaking, slowness of movement, stiffness or rigidity in the muscles, and balance problems.
It's not currently known what causes Parkinson's disease. In a small number of cases it may run in families. Research into understanding possible environmental causes is ongoing.
Anyone can get Parkinson's disease; however, it is much more likely to develop in people over 50 years of age. It is more common in men than women.
There is no single test for Parkinson's disease. Your doctor may examine you and ask you about symptoms. They may ask you to perform some simple tests and exercises to more accurately assess your symptoms.
Most people with Parkinson's disease are treated with medications, including levodopa, dopamine agonists and Monoamine oxidase-B (MAO-B) inhibitors. For some people whose symptoms are not well controlled with medication, surgery is available.
Unfortunately, Parkinson's disease cannot be cured, so all current treatments are aimed at relieving symptoms, rather than stopping or slowing the progress of the condition. Research is ongoing for a cure for Parkinson's disease.
Most people can control symptoms of Parkinson's disease very well for many years. However, over the long term, symptoms and side-effects from medications can lead to disability.