Parkinson's disease (PD) is a movement disorder. The symptoms get worse over time and can include:
- Muscle rigidity
- Tremor at rest
- Slowing down of movements (bradykinesia)
- Difficulty moving and gait instability
Part of the Brain Affected by PD—Yellow Section
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PD is caused by a loss of certain nerve cells in the brain. The loss of these cells causes a decrease in the amount of a brain chemical called dopamine. Low dopamine levels cause PD symptoms.
The brain cells may be lost because of genetic defects, the environment, or some combination of the two. A small amount of people with PD have an early-onset form. This type is caused by an inherited gene defect.
Secondary PD has similar symptoms but is caused by several factors such as:
- Antipsychotic drugs, such as haloperidol (Haldol), fluphenazine (Prolixin), trifluoperazine (Stelazine), and chlorpromazine (Thorazine)
- Antinausea/gastric motility medications such as prochlorperazine and metoclopramide
- Cardiovascular drugs, such as some calcium channel blockers and antiarrhythmic drugs
- Valproic acid (a medication used for seizures, migraines, and bipolar disorder)
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Manganese poisoning
- Brain tumors
- IV drug abuse contaminated by MPTP (a type of neurotoxin)
- Reserpine (medicine to treat schizophrenia and high blood pressure)
- Insecticide exposure
Last reviewedSeptember 2012by Rimas Lukas, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.