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April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month!

Parkinson's can cause uncontrollable movements such as shaking and stiffness as well as impaired balance and coordination. Researchers now believe that the disease may be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, including exposure to toxins. Most people with Parkinson’s develop the disease after age 60.

Here are the four main symptoms of Parkinson, according to the National Institute of Health:

  • Tremor  in hands, arms, legs, jaw or head
  • Muscle stiffness, where muscle remains contracted for a long time
  • Slowness of movement
  • Impaired balance and coordination, sometimes leading to fall

Those with Parkinson’s, according to the NIH, may also experience depression, difficulty swallowing, chewing and speaking, urinary problems or constipation; or skin problems. The rate of progression, however, can differ from with each person.

The disease is usually diagnosed by physicians who conduct a medical history and neurological exam. Currently, there are no blood or lab tests used to diagnose nongenetic Parkinson’s.

While there is no cure for Parkinson’s yet, symptoms can be alleviated through prescribed medications, surgical treatment and therapies. Learn more about Parkinson’s disease here.

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