Parkinson's Disease Essay

1642 Words7 Pages
Parkinson's Disease Parkinson’s Disease (PD), "the shaking palsy" first described by James Parkinson in 1817, is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder which affects in upwards of 1.5 million Americans. The disease begins to occur around age 40 and has incidence with patient age. One survey found that PD may affect 1% of the population over 60. Incidence seems to be more prominent in men, and tends to progress to incapacity and death over one or two decades. Clinical diagnosis of PD is currently solely dependent on the presentation of the symptoms by the patient which reflect a deficiency of striatal dopamine caused by the destruction of the cells in the substantia nigra. Imaging and other laboratory techniques can be used to…show more content…
Gastrointestinal dysfunction is probably the most common autonomic problem in PD. Sialorrhea, excessive production of saliva, is a common late symptom seen in Parkinson’s. This is probably due to the lack of autonomic swallowing and is therefore regarded as being due to hypokinesia (Korczyn, 464). In more advanced cases, difficulties in swallowing may need to be alleviated by administration of drugs which liquefy the saliva. Constipation is also a common clinical autonomic symptom. This is often made worse by the use of the anti-Parkinsonian drugs. Weight loss to varying degrees can also accompany the disease. Cardiovascular problems can be seen in PA patients, but these are to a lesser extent than the gastrointestinal problems. Cardiac arrhythmia’s were found in a number of patients, but the most incapacitating cardiovascular symptom is orthostatic hypotension. Interestingly, the hypotension in PD is more common following meals. This hypotension can also be caused by Parkinson drug treatment including Levodopa (Korczyn, 465). These symptoms can be seen in most PD patients, and the pattern by which they appear seems to be quite different from those seen in a normal progressive autonomic failure. The cause of PD is still unknown at this time, although a number of theories are presently

More about Parkinson's Disease Essay

Open Document