Parkinson’s disease is a progressive condition of the central nervous system that affects movement, typically due to a deficiency of a neurotransmitter, brain chemical, dopamine. Classic symptoms of Parkinson’s are slowness of movement, muscle rigidity, a stooped posture, balance instability, shuffling gait and sometimes tremor. The condition can advance to include non movement related symptoms such as cognitive impairment and autonomic dysfunction.
There are a variety of medications that are used to treat Parkinson’s disease and these are typically taken on a set schedule. The condition will only get worse without medication. Since gait is usually unstable, and there is a high risk of fall-related injuries, it is usually necessary to use a cane or walker for safety. Physical therapy and exercise are also necessary components of the treatment regimen.