Disease Information for Parkinson's disease (paralysis agitans): Definition

  • Synonyms include: Parkinson's Disease; Drug-Induced Parkinsonism; Paralysis Agitans; Parkinsonism; Postencephalitic Parkinsonism; Secondary Parkinsonism; Shaking Palsy; Symptomatic Parkinsonism;

    Parkinson's disease is a slowly progressive neurological condition characterized by involuntary tremor, muscular stiffness or inflexibility (rigidity), slowness of movement and difficulty carrying out voluntary movements; Degenerative changes occur in basal ganglia including substantia nigra and others) causing a decrease in dopamine levels in the brain; Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. Basal Ganglia injuries and Parkinsonism

    occur with hydrocephalus, head trauma, encephalitis, , infarcts or tumors deep within the cerebral hemispheres and the upper brain stem or exposure to certain drugs and toxins; Parkinson"s disease is slowly progressive and may not become incapacitating for many years. [Adapted from NORD 2008]

    Synonyms: Paleostriatal syndrome, pallidal syndrome, pallidum syndrome paralysis agitans, parkinsonism, shaking palsy, spasmus agitans.

    Has a progressive, prolonged course. It is characterized by masklike facies, a fine, slowly spreading tremor, cogwheel rigidity, bradykinesia, and postural instability with a peculiar gait; The disease is caused by degeneration of the basal ganglia of the brain (the extrapyramidal motor system) due to reduced production of dopamine in the substantia nigra; The disease is progressive; It can take 20-30 years or longer until the patient is substantially invalidized, while senses and intellect remain unimpaired;