Parkinson's disease is a movement disorder that is chronic and progressive, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time. As many as one million Americans suffer from Parkinson's disease. While approximately 15 percent of people with Parkinson's are diagnosed before the age of 50, incidence increases with age. The cause is unknown, and although there is presently no cure, there are many treatment options such as medication and surgery to manage the symptoms. (For more statistics on Parkinson's disease, read our fact sheet, General Facts on Parkinson's Disease).
Parkinson's disease occurs when a group of cells in an area of the brain called the substantia nigra begin to malfunction and die. These cells in the substantia nigra produce a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger, that sends information to the parts of the brain that control movement and coordination. When a person has Parkinson's disease, their dopamine-producing cells begin to die and the amount of dopamine produced in the brain decreases. Messages from the brain telling the body how and when to move are therefore delivered more slowly, leaving a person incapable of initiating and controlling movements in a normal way.
Parkinson's disease can also cause several different symptoms. The specific group of symptoms that an individual experiences varies from person to person. Some of the most common symptoms of Parkinson's disease are:
- tremor of the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face
- rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk
- bradykinesia or slowness of movement
- postural instability or impaired balance and coordination
Please let my leg tremors not be this. The tremors began on Labor Day, so it's been a month. One or both legs shake almost constantly. I shake when I am standing still. The only reprieve has been as I awaken. The past three mornings, the tremors didn't begin for half an hour after I got up. I have been doing EEG on myself to help, but I don't know if it has.
I also have clawlike stiffness in my right thumb and forefinger sometimes. I find my balance waning as well. My eye blink is more pronounced sometimes.
Last month during the EEG workshop, they found odd brain patterns, but tried to minimize it. Now I realize these tremors are not just nerves, as the GP claimed. As of yesterday, I have an appointment with a neurologist on Oct 19. On Friday, I will have my regular appt with my psychiatrist. I hope she can be more helpful than at my last visit.
I am scared and worried, but keeping it together, waiting for the official.
I can't help but to wonder... How can I raise a son like this? Who on earth will care for me? I have nobody who fills that need. I have so many questions.
My first thought: I'll never get laid again.