Lower Merion Neurology PC
Neurologist located in Paoli, PA & Narberth, PA
Parkinson’s disease affects about 5-6 people per 1000, with men facing a higher risk of developing this movement disorder than women. Sudhir Aggarwal, MD, PhD, at Lower Merion Neurology PC works closely with each patient, prescribing the treatment that controls their Parkinson’s symptoms and helps them to enjoy life. If you develop tremors or unusual muscle movements, call Lower Merion Neurology PC located in Paoli, Pennsylvania, and serving the larger Main Line area, or schedule an appointment online.
Parkinson's Disease Q & A
What causes Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s disease develops due to nerve degeneration in the part of your brain that controls muscle movement. The affected nerves are responsible for producing a brain chemical called dopamine. As these nerves die and dopamine levels drop, your muscles can’t work properly.
When about 80% of your dopamine is lost, you begin to develop symptoms. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive and chronic disorder, but the rate of its progression is different for each patient.
What symptoms develop in patients with Parkinson’s disease?
There are four primary symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease.
- Tremor: Uncontrollable shaking
- Rigidity: Muscle stiffness
- Postural instability: Problems with balance
- Bradykinesia: Gradual loss of movement, slow movement, or inability to make facial expressions
Tremors typically begin in one limb or on one side of your body and then spread to both sides as Parkinson’s progresses. Most patients have tremors while resting; then, the tremors improve when they start to move. However, about 25% of Parkinson’s patients have tremors that appear when they’re active.
Parkinson’s disease also causes other symptoms, including:
- Inability to move
- Shuffling gait
- Dragging your foot
- Stooped posture
- Difficulty swallowing
- Changes in handwriting
You may also notice that you speak more softly or more quickly than normal, slur your words, or talk with a flat, expressionless voice.
Does Parkinson’s disease cause dementia?
In another form of Parkinson’s, called Lewy Body Dementia, small deposits of proteins called Lewy bodies begin to accumulate in the brain. As a result, an estimated 50-80% of patients develop dementia. Parkinson’s dementia causes memory loss and affects your ability to make decisions and solve problems.
What are my options for treating Parkinson’s disease treated?
Treatment for Parkinson’s disease from Lower Merion Neurology PC starts with one or more medications. Dr. Aggarwal chooses from a variety of medications that work in different ways, relieving your symptoms by:
- Replacing dopamine
- Mimicking the activity of dopamine
- Increasing dopamine by blocking other neurotransmitters
- Boosting dopamine by blocking enzymes that break it down
- Reducing levels of neurotransmitters that contribute to tremors
When you can’t take medications due to severe side effects, or when Parkinson’s progresses to the point where medications no longer help, Dr. Aggarwal may recommend surgery such as deep brain stimulation (DBS).
During a DBS procedure, a neurosurgeon implants electrodes into the areas of your brain responsible for body movement. Then he connects the electrodes to a battery-powered generator placed under the skin of your chest. The electrodes send out mild electrical stimulation, which blocks the nerve signals causing symptoms like tremors and rigidity. As a result, your symptoms improve.
If you develop tremors or other Parkinson’s symptoms, call Lower Merion Neurology PC or schedule an appointment online.