Neurons in the substantial nigra produce a specific type of neurotransmitter – dopamine – responsible for regulating movement. Without it, symptoms of Parkinson’s develop.
The American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) grouped four primary motor symptoms of the condition.
These are: tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia (slow movement) and postural instability (balance issues).
Delving into bradykinesia, this common symptom of Parkinson’s disease could affect the way a person sounds.
The voice may become softer, or it may start off strong and then fade away.
There could be a loss in the normal variation in volume and emotion in the voice – it could make someone sound monotone.
In advanced stages of Parkinson’s, the person’s speech may become rapid, with the words crowded together; stuttering may also occur.
Bradykinesia can be demonstrated by a reduced or “mask-like” expression of the face.
This is when you’re unable to decipher how a person is feeling, as they seem expressionless.
People with Parkinson’s could blink less than normal and may have difficulty buttoning shirts.
Another sign of bradykinesia is small handwriting – also known as micrographia.
Characteristically occurring at rest, the slow, rhythmic tremor of Parkinson’s disease typically occurs on one side of the body.
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It can affect the hand, foot, or leg, gradually affecting both sides of the body as the brain disease worsens.
Resting tremors can also occur in the jaw, chin, mouth or tongue – and some people may experience an internal tremor.
Parkinson’s – without a shadow of a doubt – will progressively become more apparent.
This is because the condition is a degenerative brain disease, meaning more cells within the brain will die in time.
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Medication and alternative therapies can definitely slow down the progression of the disease, but a cure is still yet to be found.
This sign of Parkinson’s disease refers to a tightness or stiffness of the limbs or torso.
More pronounced in the later stages of the condition, postural instability increases the likelihoods of falls.
This is because the person is unable to maintain a steady, upright posture, causing them to fall backwards.
Those who have developed postural instability would continue to step backwards, or fall down, if lightly pushed.
This, understandably, is a health hazard in busy areas, such as shopping malls, the London Tube or on a busy bus.
There are non-motor symptoms associated with Parkinson’s, which can include sleeping problems.
It’s not unheard of for people suffering from this debilitative condition to become depressed and anxious.
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