Parkinson’s is a disease that affects the way you move. Low levels of the brain chemical dopamine cause symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Low levels of this neuro-hormone result from the breakdown of nerve cells in parts of the brain that produce dopamine. Scientists are studying the exact cause of this breakdown of nerve cells and believe it may be caused by normal aging, trauma to the head or toxins in the environment.
There are four common symptoms related to Parkinson’s:
- Tremor (shaking or trembling) that can affect hands, arms or legs
- Stiff muscles
- Slow movement
- Overall difficulty with balance and walking
While symptoms differ somewhat from person to person, they usually start between the ages of 50 and 60. Parkinson's disease typically gets progressively worse over many years. In time, the disease affects muscles all through the body and can lead to challenges with swallowing and speech.