Parkinson's Disease

Overview of Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's Disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that involves the loss of nerve cells thereby resulting in insufficient production of dopamine to aid in nerve impulse transmission and overall body coordination and movement.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a degenerative condition of our central nervous system under which the production of dopamine is affected as nerve cells that are part of the brain that produces it, die. This results in complications in body movements and coordination.


Nerve cells present in a brain region (substantia nigra) die as a result of which sufficient dopamine is not produced. Since dopamine acts as a messenger within the nervous system, passing electrical impulses from one neuron to another, therefore, controlling and coordinating different body movements overall, a decrease in its production will result in the body becoming slow and inactive in terms of movements. When 80% of the nerve cells die in the substantia nigra, symptoms of Parkinson’s disease develop. Therefore, the whole progression of the disease is slow.


Signs and Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease

There is a range of symptoms that develop due to PD. However, motor symptoms associated with PD are more noticeable compared to the non-motor ones as PD itself is a movement disorder.

The four main symptoms of PD are:

  • Tremor
  • Bradykinesia
  • Rigidity
  • Balance issues

Other symptoms that are non-movement related associated with PD are:

Types of Parkinson's Disease

Due to there being a combination of symptoms contributing to PD, PD can be classified on the basis of these different combinations.

Idiopathic Parkinson’s: The most common form of PD. The cause of this condition is unknown. The most common symptoms are tremors, rigidity, and slowness in movement.

Vascular Parkinsonism: This condition is due to some abruption in the blood supply to the brain. Common symptoms have to do with problems with memory, sleep as well as movement.

Drug-induced Parkinsonism: Neuroleptic drugs that are used as a treatment for other neuro-disorders may result in a form of Parkinson's as it blocks the action of dopamine. This type of Parkinson's shares the same set of symptoms as the actual Parkison’s disease condition.

Causes of Parkinson's Disease

As for the cause behind such nerve loss, there is not much certainty regarding it. Thereby, calling the need for more research in this domain. However, genetic and environmental factors are considered potential causes for the development of Parkinson’s.

  • Genetic Factor: Researchers have discovered plenty of gene mutations that are linked to the development of PD

  • Environmental Factor: Research studies show that exposure to certain toxins or chemicals, for example, insecticides may contribute to the likelihood of PD


Risk Factors of Parkinson's Disease





Diagnosing PD at an early stage is difficult because the symptoms become noticeable over time. It should be noted that two of the four main movement-related symptoms need to be present for PD to be diagnosed.

There are no particular tests on the basis of which PD is diagnosed. Instead, neurologists carry out a detailed history of symptoms to rule out any other conditions that might have symptoms similar to PD. They also carry out an intensive neurological examination to check for any muscle stiffness, balance issues, or other movement-related hindrance.

Diagnosis of PD can be challenging as it encompasses a variety of symptoms that also come under other neurodegenerative disorders, such as hereditary disorders, and Fahr’s diseases. Therefore, other differentials have to be considered and ruled out before confirming the diagnosis of PD.

Treatment of Parkinson's Disease | When to Consult a Doctor