What causes Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is described as a “movement disorder”, because the primary symptoms are movement related, such as tremor, shuffling and stooping. These symptoms occur when the production of the brain chemical, dopamine, is reduced. Dopamine is very important because it carries signals from one brain cell to the next, and for this reason is called a “neurotransmitter”.
For some reason, as yet unknown, the number of cells producing dopamine in the brain is reduced, so less dopamine is made. With less dopamine available, the signals through the nerve cells to the rest of the body are affected, or compromised, and so the body’s motion can be affected, as well as other symptoms, such as sense of smell and moods which are examples of non-motor symptoms.
When dopamine is reduced, it makes it difficult to control movements that were once easy.
Diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease
It’s important that people get an accurate diagnosis of PD. This is because there are several different conditions which have similar symptoms to PD, and it is important to sort out what the issue really is. The doctor has to consider what other causes could be.
For example, some people develop “Parkinsonism”. Parkinsonism refers to having the signs of Parkinson’s disease without it being the real thing..
Also, occasionally people who have been taking a drug like Stemetil (prochlorperazine), or Maxalon (Metoclopramide), or other drugs long term, show the same symptoms as Parkinson’s disease. It’s crucial that these causes are identified and rectified.
If a Doctor determines that the symptoms are in fact caused by PD, people may really benefit from specific treatment.