Parkinson's Patients   
Support Groups, Inc.
of Northern &
 Central California  

Your Subtitle text

Understanding PD

About Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's Disease (PD) is a chronic, progressive neurological disorder resulting from the loss of brain cells that produce dopamine, a neurochemical controlling motor functions.  When 80% of the dopamine-producing cells are gone, slowness of movement (bradykinesia), tremor, and rigidity appear.  As the disease progresses, other symptoms such as poor posture, balance instability, and difficulty with speech and swallowing may occur.  It is estimated that over one million Americans and between seven and ten million people worldwide are living with PD.

There are a variety of effective medications used to treat the symptoms of the disease, but to date there is no medication that has been proven to stop the progression or provide a cure.  Researchers are actively seeking to understand the cause of PD and find improved treatments and ultimately a cure.        

(The following two paragraphs are excerpted from The Parkinson's Institute and Clinical Center website.)

At this time, there is not a lab test to determine if an individual has Parkinson’s disease. Instead, tests may be performed to rule out other possible causes of symptoms. In addition, a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is usually made after a neurologist determines that two of the three main symptoms (tremor, rigidity and bradykinesia) are present. How well medications for Parkinson’s disease work for treating an individual’s symptoms may also help confirm the diagnosis. Because there are other diseases similar to Parkinson’s disease, a neurologist may change the diagnosis as the disease progresses.

A variety of medications and therapies that help control Parkinson’s symptoms are currently available. Because each patient is affected differently by the disease, treatments need to be catered to each individual’s needs. In addition, a healthy lifestyle including a healthy diet, exercise, rest and relaxation is important to successfully manage the condition. 


The following pages at leading Parkinson's websites provide an excellent introduction to the basics of the disease.

American Parkinson's Disease Association - Basic Info About PD

The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research:  Understanding Parkinson's

National Parkinson Foundation:  Parkinson's Disease Overview

Parkinson's Disease Foundation:  What is Parkinson's Disease? 

Parkinson's Action Network:  About Parkinson's Disease 

Slideshow from WebMD:  Parkinson's Overview
(sourced from The Michael J. Fox Foundation, NPF, PDF, NINDS, WeMove and others)

To access a wealth of additional information about Parkinson's Disease research, advocacy, care and support, please visit our 
PD Portal.


Website Builder