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 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.
There are four primary symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease.
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:
You may also notice that you speak more softly or more quickly than normal, slur your words, or talk with a flat, expressionless voice.
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.
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:
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.