Parkinson’s disease is a growing
disorder that is produced by degeneration of nerve cells in the portion of the
brain termed as substantia nigra, which regulates movement. These nerve cells
die or get impaired, losing the capacity to produce an essential chemical
called dopamine. Investigations have revealed that symptoms of Parkinson’s
begin in patients with an 80 percent or higher loss of dopamine-producing cells
in the substantia nigra.
Dopamine functions in a delicate balance with other neurotransmitters is found to be helpful to regulate the millions of nerve and muscle cells involved in the movement. Without enough dopamine, this equilibrium is interrupted, resulting in trembling in the hands, arms, legs, and jaw. The rigidity of stiffness of the limbs, slowness of movement and impaired balance are some common symptoms of Parkinson’s.
The diagnosis of Parkinson’s is essentially based on the common symptoms as mentioned above. Noninvasive diagnostic imaging, such as positron emission tomography (PET) can help a doctor’s diagnosis.
Traditional methods for investigation include:
The appearance of two of the three primary symptoms
The deficiency of other neurological signs upon examination
Response to Parkinson’s medications, such as levodopa