Parkinson disease Parkinson Disease (PD) Parkinson disease is a brain disease that causes you to slowly lose control of your movements. It can cause shaking (tremors), stiff muscles, slow movements, and problems with your balance.... read more is a disease that affects the part of your brain that controls your movements. You get tremors (shaking), stiff muscles, slow movements, trouble with your balance, and difficulty thinking ( dementia Dementia Dementia is a brain problem that makes it hard to remember, think, and learn. Most dementia begins little by little and starts after age 65. It’s normal for the brain to change with age, but... read more ).
What is parkinsonism?
In Parkinsonism, you have symptoms of Parkinson disease, but they're caused by a different brain disorder or by certain drugs or poisons.
At first, you have shaking ( tremors Tremor A tremor is part of your body shaking in a way you can’t control. Tremors can happen in your hands, head, or muscles that control your voice, back, belly, or legs A small amount of movement... read more ) of your fingers and hands when your muscles are relaxed and at rest
You may also have stiff muscles, slow movements, and problems with balance and walking
Doctors treat the cause of parkinsonism when possible and use medicines and physical therapy
What causes parkinsonism?
Causes of parkinsonism include:
Alzheimer disease Alzheimer Disease Alzheimer disease is a type of dementia that usually affects people older than 65. Dementia is a brain problem that makes it hard to remember, think, understand language, and learn. Brain problems... read more , Lewy body dementia Dementia With Lewy Bodies and Parkinson Disease Dementia Dementia with Lewy bodies is progressive loss of mental function characterized by the development of Lewy bodies in nerve cells. Parkinson disease dementia is loss of mental function characterized... read more , and other disorders in which your brain deteriorates over time
Wilson disease Wilson Disease In Wilson disease, a rare hereditary disorder, the liver does not excrete excess copper into the bile as it normally does, resulting in accumulation of copper in the liver and liver damage.... read more (a disease that causes a buildup of copper in your body)
Brain tumors Overview of Brain Tumors A brain tumor is a growth in your brain that may or may not be cancer. Brain tumors may start in your brain or may have spread to your brain (metastasized) from another part of your body. Brain... read more and strokes Stroke A stroke is a sudden brain problem that happens when a blood vessel in your brain either gets blocked or breaks open and bleeds. Part of your brain stops getting blood. Brain tissue that doesn't... read more
Head injuries, especially if they happen over and over, such as in boxing or football
Certain medicines, such as some medicine for schizophrenia and some anti-nausea medicine
What are the symptoms of parkinsonism?
Parkinsonism symptoms include:
Your hand shakes while your muscles are relaxed (this is a key symptom, since most other hand tremors happen when hand muscles are in use)
Problems balancing and walking
You may have symptoms that aren't part of Parkinson disease Parkinson Disease (PD) Parkinson disease is a brain disease that causes you to slowly lose control of your movements. It can cause shaking (tremors), stiff muscles, slow movements, and problems with your balance.... read more , such as:
Memory loss early on (in Parkinson disease memory loss occurs later)
Low blood pressure, difficulty swallowing, constipation, and urinary problems
Unusual eye movements
Hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that aren’t there) early on (in Parkinson disease hallucinations occur later)
Problems using or understanding language
How can doctors tell if I have parkinsonism?
Doctors will ask you about things that can cause parkinsonism, such as:
Use of certain medicines
Exposure to poisons
Family history of brain disorders
Repeated head injuries
Typically doctors will do tests such as:
CT scan Computed Tomography A CT scan uses a large machine shaped like a large donut to take x-rays from many angles. A computer then takes the x-rays and creates many detailed pictures of the inside of your body. Each... read more or MRI Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) MRI is a test that uses a machine with a powerful magnet to make pictures of the inside of your body. A computer records changes in the magnetic field around your body. The computer then uses... read more
Sometimes doctors just have you try medicine for Parkinson disease How do doctors treat Parkinson disease? Parkinson disease is a brain disease that causes you to slowly lose control of your movements. It can cause shaking (tremors), stiff muscles, slow movements, and problems with your balance.... read more . If that medicine works, then you likely have Parkinson disease and not parkinsonism.
How do doctors treat parkinsonism?
If there's another health problem causing your parkinsonism, doctors will treat it if possible.
Doctors may also:
Have you do physical Physical Therapy (PT) Physical therapy, a component of rehabilitation, involves exercising and manipulating the body with an emphasis on the back, upper arms, and legs. It can improve joint and muscle function, helping... read more or occupational therapy Occupational Therapy (OT) Occupational therapy, a component of rehabilitation, is intended to enhance a person's ability to do basic self-care activities, useful work, and leisure activities. These activities include... read more
Have you stay active, eat healthy food, and use assistive devices (such as a cane or walker) to help with daily living