Parkinson’s Disease

Overview

What is Parkinson’s disease? Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that affects the body’s ability to move normally. It occurs when cells are destroyed in certain parts of the brain stem. It usually causes tremors, rigid muscles and balance problems, and it is progressive — meaning it gets worse over time.

Symptoms

Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease may include:

  • Changes in handwriting (small, cramped handwriting can be an early sign)
  • Changes in walking
  • Loss of balance
  • Loss of fine motor skills
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Difficulty with speech
  • Rigid muscles and limbs
  • Shaking or tremors
  • Stooped posture

Diagnosis

First, you’ll meet with your doctor for a physical exam. You’ll talk about your symptoms and your doctor may order tests to rule out other conditions. 

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Treatment Options

If you have Parkinson’s disease, your Aurora team of neurologists will work with you to develop a treatment plan for the best possible quality of life.

Treatment may include:

  • Medication
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Rehabilitation
  • Surgery, such as deep brain stimulation (DBS), which combats tremors and muscle rigidity. In DBS, surgeons implant a hair-thin electrode in the brain to help control body movements.

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Our search tool can help you find the right neuroscience specialist.

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