Neurology Institute of Huntsville, Inc.
Board-Certified Neurologists located in Huntsville, AL
About 60,000 Americans receive a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis every year, with men having nearly double the risk compared to women. Jitesh Kar, MD, and the experienced team at the Neurology Institute of Huntsville works closely with many Parkinson’s patients, helping them keep their symptoms under control. If you have questions about symptoms like tremors, or you’d like to schedule an appointment, call the Huntsville, Alabama, location or use the online booking feature.
What is Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder that develops when nerves that control movement degenerate or die and lose their ability to produce dopamine. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating body movement.
The loss of dopamine causes Parkinsonian symptoms. Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder, although the rate at which symptoms worsen differs for each patient.
What symptoms develop due to Parkinson’s disease?
Tremors in one or both hands are the most common symptom of Parkinson’s. When tremors begin, many patients think they have Parkinson’s disease, but a condition called essential tremor causes similar symptoms. Additionally, many health conditions can cause tremors.
There are four primary Parkinson’s symptoms, but you may not develop all four symptoms equally. Usually, tremors are likely to be your most challenging symptom.
The four primary symptoms of Parkinson’s are:
- Tremors: uncontrollable shaking that occurs with rest and improves with purposeful movement
- Rigidity: muscle stiffness and an involuntary increase in muscle tone causes
- Bradykinesia: a gradual loss of automatic movement, slow movement, expressionless face
- Postural instability: difficulty with balance
Parkinsonian tremors may begin in one limb or on one side of the body. As the disease progresses, the tremors often spread to include both sides. While a resting tremor is common, about 25% of patients with Parkinson’s may also have an action tremor that appears when using a muscle.
You may also experience symptoms such as:
- Being unable to move
- Shuffling gait
- Dragging your foot
- Stooped posture
- Cramped handwriting
- Difficulty swallowing
- Cognitive impairment
Some patients may notice a change in their voice. They may speak softly, too quickly, slur their words, or talk in a monotone.
How are Parkinson’s disease and tremors treated?
The team at the Neurology Institute of Huntsville develops a customized treatment based on your symptoms. Many medications are available to restore brain chemicals.
The drug levodopa, which is a conventional therapy, works by being converted into dopamine. Other pharmacological treatments work by preventing the breakdown of dopamine or by mimicking brain chemicals.
When medications fail to produce results, your doctor may recommend deep brain stimulation (DST). DST requires a surgical procedure to implant a device that sends electrical impulses to the area of your brain responsible for movement. The pulses block faulty nerve signals, so your tremors, rigidity, and other symptoms improve.
When tremors or other Parkinson’s disease symptoms develop, call the Neurology Institute of Huntsville or book an appointment online.
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