What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder that is caused by the degeneration of nerve cells in the part of the brain called the substantia nigra, which controls movement. These nerve cells die and become impaired, losing the ability to produce an important chemical called dopamine. Studies have shown that symptoms of Parkinson’s develop in patients with an 80 percent or greater loss of dopamine-producing cells in the substantia nigra.

 Dopamine operates in a delicate balance with other neurotransmitters to help coordinate the millions of nerve and muscle cells involved in the movement. Without enough dopamine, this balance is disrupted, which results in tremors (trembling in the hands, arms, legs, and jaw); rigidity (stiffness of the limbs); slowness of movement; and impaired balance and coordination – the hallmark symptoms of Parkinson’s.

Causes of Parkinson’s Disease

No one knows exactly why a person gets Parkinson’s. It is due to a mixture of things that include genes and exposure to specific toxins. There’s usually no way to predict who will get it or why. It is rare for Parkinson’s to run in families, and, If it does, it is typically the early onset variety. 

In addition,  there are theories involving oxidative damage, environmental toxins, genetic factors, and accelerated aging that have been discussed as  causes for the disease. In 2005, researchers discovered a single mutation in a Parkinson’s disease gene (first identified in 1997), which is believed to be responsible for five percent of inherited cases.

Top 4 Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

The four main symptoms of Parkinson’s are related to movement:

  1. Tremors or shaking of hands, arms, legs, jaw, or head
  2. Stiffness of arms, legs, and trunk
  3. Slowed movement
  4. The trouble with balance and coordination

People with Parkinson’s may also have:

  1. Depression or other emotional changes
  2. Trouble chewing, swallowing or speaking
  3. Trouble sleeping
  4. Constipation

Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease

 With Parkinsons, certain neurons that are responsible for producing dopamine in your brain are broken down. Scientists have revealed that stem cells are an effective option used in the treatment of this disease. The research showed that stem cells have the potential to enhance the function of damaged neurons. This is done very safely and effectively and offers  long-term results versus  taking medications. 

Meet Dr. Sabrina Solt