Do You Have Parkinson's Disease?
Parkinson’s disease (PD)
is a disorder of the central nervous system caused by a lack of dopamine, a brain chemical used to send messages to the muscles to make them move properly. If you have Parkinson’s disease, you may find that ordinary actions become more difficult — reaching for a glass or taking a walk may not be as easy as it once was. For some patients, one hand may shake or tremble while resting. Your doctor will most likely look for some common symptoms to determine if you have Parkinson’s disease:
- Shaking (tremor)
- Difficulty walking
- Muscle stiffness or aching
- Slowness of movement
- Small handwriting
- Decreased facial expression
What Should I Do if I Have These Symptoms?
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your physician. Research and medical advances are producing new options for treating the symptoms of Parkinson's disease
. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to taking charge of Parkinson's disease and continuing to stay active.
Preparing for Your Doctor Visit
The following tips and tools can help you get the most out of the time you have with your doctor:
- Bring a family member, friend, or caregiver to offer an objective viewpoint and help prioritize your issues. He or she can also provide emotional support and may have even noticed symptoms you had overlooked.
- Be ready to voice your needs. Be open and honest — your doctor needs complete information about your symptoms.
- Take good notes — it's not easy to remember everything your doctor says. And if you don't understand something, ask your doctor to explain it to you and write down the explanation.
Need Help Finding a Parkinson's Disease Specialist?
To find a neurologist or movement disorder specialist in your area:
If you would like to get information from a doctor online
, the National Parkinson Foundation offers an "Ask the Doctor" Forum