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UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Sunnybrook

5885 Sunnybrook Drive
Sioux City, IA 51106

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Your Parkinson's Disease Primer

by -

A hand holding a pencil

You've heard of this progressive brain disorder, but do you know the symptoms?

Named for the physician who first published a description of the condition in 1817, Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative brain disorder. Over the course of the disease, the brain slowly stops producing a hormone called dopamine. With diminishing dopamine, the person loses the ability to regulate movement, body and emotions.

There is currently no cure for Parkinson's disease. While the disease itself is not fatal, the condition causes other fatal problems late in the disease.

Early Warning Signs

Symptoms of Parkinson's disease include tremor in the hands and legs, slow movement, stiffness in the limbs and torso and impaired balance and stability. The National Parkinson Foundation identifies the following five warning signs of Parkinson's:

  • Tremor or shaking. Uncontrollable shaking (unrelated to a medication you're taking or an injury) is a common, early symptom.
  • Small handwriting. While writing can change over time, a sudden change in handwriting can indicate Parkinson's disease.
  • Loss of smell. Anyone can have trouble smelling due to a cold or stuffy nose, but if you find you can't smell foods (particularly bananas or dill pickles) as well, tell your physician.
  • Trouble sleeping. More than just a night's worth of tossing and turning, this symptom may cause you to fall out of bed while asleep or kick and punch during the night.
  • Difficulty moving. Unlike the stiffness of osteoarthritis, those with Parkinson's describe feeling like their feet are stuck to the floor.

Visit UnityPoint Clinic to learn more about neurology and to find a Neurologist near you.