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What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic condition that progressively affects the ability to produce movement. The symptoms of the disease develop and worsen over time. However, actions can be taken to maintain a good quality of life and carry on with daily activities.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease caused by the progressive loss of neurons in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra (SN).

These neurons control movement and communicate with each other through a chemical element called dopamine. A decrease in neurons leads to a decrease in dopamine levels and therefore to poorer movement management and the appearance of motor symptoms

Other parts of the brain are also affected, which accounts for the appearance of non-motor symptoms.

The loss of neurons is a slow process caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors.  Motor symptoms start to appear when about 80% of dopaminergic neurons have disappeared.

Although there is no cure to Parkinson’s disease, there are several treatments available to alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of life of people living with the disease.

 

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