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Parkinson’s Disease, Clinical Picture

Parkinson’s disease (Morbus Parkinson) - named after the English doctor James Parkinson (1755 - 1824) - is one of the most common neurological diseases. In Germany alone, the disease affects 150,000 to 200,000 people. Parkinson’s disease affects the regions in the brain which are responsible for motions.

Although the disease is still not curable, it has lost much of its terror. A multitude of measures can help patients over a long period of time and allows them to lead as normal a life as possible. Medication such as L-Dopa and dopamine agonists have almost restored the life-expectancy of Parkinson’s disease patients to normal value.

 

First symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

 

At the beginning of the disease often quite non-specific symptoms are experienced:

 

  •     Fatigability
  •     Lack on stamina
  •     Weakening of general resiliency
  •     Depression
  •     Difficulty in concentration, disturbance of memory
  •     Orthopaedic complains, e.g. backache
  •     Shoulder-arm syndrome

Cardinal symptoms


Only once 60 to 70 percent of the neurons that generate dopamine, a neurotransmitter required for motions, are impaired in their function does the characteristic pathological condition occur which includes:

  •     Restricted fine motor skills
  •     Shaking (tremor)
  •     Rigidity (rigor)
  •     Postural instability
  •     Difficulty initiating movement (akinesia)

 

Attendant symptoms

 

The vegetative attendant symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include:

 

  •     Increased salivation
  •     Increased sweating
  •     Bladder dysfunction and constipation
  •     Sleep problems
  •     Altered sexual function