Parkinson's Disease - Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

I'm Dr. Melinda Burnett, and I'm a neurologist here at CHI Health. I am a specialist in movement disorders.

What that means is that a lot of the patients I see, have Parkinson's disease which is a fairly common disease. About one out of a hundred of us will get it in our lifetime, and that frequency increases as we get older.

Parkinson's disease is still a big mystery as to why people get it. We haven't really figured out any clear cause other than some people who are exposed to pesticides, herbicides or well water when they're younger are at a slightly higher risk of getting Parkinson's disease.

Parkinson's disease is something that shows up in different ways for different people. It is common for people to get tremors, or shaking in their hands, even when they're relaxed. Some people also get stiffness and their walking changes. They may stoop over or shuffle when they walk. There can be other causes of that which is why it's good to see a movement disorder doctor or neurologist to be diagnosed. Once diagnosed, the good news is that we have many treatments that can help with the symptoms.

The most commonly used medication is something called sinemet, or carbidopa-levodopa which are medications that can help stop the tremors and stiffness. If the disease progresses we have fancier treatments like brain surgery. It's a very treatable condition and it helps to have someone knowledgeable about the medicines and the diagnosis to guide people along. If you or your loved one has any similar symptoms please do go to the neurologist and get answers so we can get you feeling better.
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