Integrated Neurology Services
Neurology Specialists & Sleep Specialists located in Alexandria, VA & Lorton, VA
About 60,000 Americans receive a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis every year, with men having nearly double the risk compared to women. The experienced team at Integrated Neurology Services in Alexandria, Falls Church, and Lorton, Virginia, works closely with many Parkinson’s patients, helping them keep their symptoms under control. If you’re in Northern Virginia and have questions about symptoms like tremors, call the nearest Integrated Neurology Services office or request an appointment online today.
Parkinson’s Disease Q&A
What is Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s disease, a movement disorder, occurs when the nerves controlling movement degenerate and lose their ability to manufacture dopamine. Dopamine, the neurotransmitter regulating bodily movement, diminishes, giving rise to Parkinsonian symptoms.
The disease progresses gradually, although the pace of symptom progression varies among patients.
What symptoms manifest as a result of Parkinson’s disease?
The most apparent indication of Parkinson’s is tremors in one or both hands. Initially, patients might mistake these tremors for signs of Parkinson’s, yet a condition called essential tremor can produce similar symptoms. Moreover, various health issues can also elicit tremors.
Parkinson’s is characterized by four main symptoms, which may not all develop with the same intensity in each patient. Tremors might be the most challenging symptom for some, while others may grapple with a different primary symptom, with tremors being a minor issue.
The four main symptoms of Parkinson’s include:
- Resting tremor: Involuntary shaking that diminishes with purposeful movement
- Rigidity: Muscle stiffness due to an involuntary surge in muscle tone
- Bradykinesia: Gradual loss of automatic movement, leading to slowed movement and a blank facial expression
- Postural instability: Difficulty maintaining balance
Parkinsonian tremors might initially manifest in one limb or one side of the body, eventually spreading to both sides as the disease progresses. While resting tremors are common, around 25% of Parkinson’s patients might also experience action tremors, which arise during muscle use.
Patients might also encounter symptoms such as:
- Shuffling gait
- Foot dragging
- Stooped posture
- Cramped handwriting
- Swallowing difficulties
- Cognitive impairment
Certain patients observe changes in their voice, including speaking softly, speaking rapidly, slurring words, or using a monotone voice.
How is Parkinson’s disease managed?
The team at Integrated Neurology Services tailors treatment based on individual symptoms. Numerous medications are available to replenish brain chemicals. Levodopa transforms into dopamine, while other drugs prevent dopamine breakdown or mimic brain chemicals.
If medications prove ineffective, your physician might recommend deep brain stimulation (DST). DST involves a surgical implant that emits electrical impulses to the brain region responsible for movement. These impulses obstruct faulty nerve signals, leading to an alleviation of tremors, rigidity, and other symptoms.
Should tremors or other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease arise, contact Integrated Neurology Services or request an appointment online today.
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