Although the risk of Parkinson’s disease increases with age, an estimated 4% of all patients are diagnosed before the age of 50. There is an alternative to traditional therapies. Please fill out a medical review form, or call our office in Glenview, Illinois at (847) 750-4307 to learn more.
Parkinson’s Disease Q & A
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, degenerative, movement disorder with symptoms that develop gradually and get worse over time. The disease develops due to two changes that occur in the brain:
- Loss of neurons that produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter that regulates muscle movement
- The buildup of Lewy Bodies, proteins that accumulate around nerves and interrupt nerve signals
Although the symptoms can vary for each patient, some of the most common include:
- Rigid muscles: arms, legs, or neck become stiff
- Resting tremor: uncontrollable movement due to contracting muscles
- Bradykinesia: slow movement
- Postural instability: poor posture and balance leading to falls and problems walking
- Speech changes: speech may become soft or slurred
- Difficulty swallowing
- Motor coordination challenges
What Are the Traditional Treatments of Parkinson’s Disease?
Several medications are available for treatment that can help alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. However, none of these medications are a cure, nor do they slow disease progression. Commonly prescribed medications include Carbidopa, Levodopa (Sinemet), and Azilect. Most medications for Parkinson’s disease are associated with disabling side effects including dyskinesia (involuntary movements), hallucinations, and sleepiness.
As the disease progresses, traditional medications lose their effectiveness and requirelarger doses. This leads to adverse side effects. Other treatment options are available outside of medications such as Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) – a highly invasive surgery in the brain. However, a small percentage of DBS patients see severe complications including seizures and brain hemorrhages. There is some relief for patients with traditional medicines, but we are still a long way from patients being able to lead a productive life.
What is the Role of Stem Cells?
Within the body, there are different sources of stem cells – known as the “mother” or “master” cells – capable of differentiating into virtually any type of cell. It has been documented by several scientific publications that stem cells may differentiate into a specific cell or tissue type.