Parkinson's disease facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Sir William Richard Gowers Parkinson Disease sketch 1886
Sir William Richard Gowers Parkinson sketch.

Parkinson's disease (or PD) is a disease that slowly damages the central nervous system. The central nervous system is made up of the brain and spine. When a person gets Parkinson's disease, the cells that make dopamine in a part of the brain die. Dopamine cells send information to other cells which makes us do the actions we do. Because of this, Parkinson's disease mainly affects the body's motor system.

Parkinson's disease is a disease that gets worse over time. People normally get Parkinson’s disease when they are over 50 years old. It is sometimes very hard for doctors to detect.

Causes

Doctors are studying the exact causes Parkinson's. Doctors have discovered some clues about the cause(s).It is caused by the destruction of specialised ganglions in the brain.The production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter reduces. Parkinson's can also be genetic. But research shows that genetic Parkinson's is not normal, and is uncommon.

Symptoms

Parkinson's disease can cause the brain to not respond. The patient may become paralyzed. The disease can give the patient slow reaction time and poor coordination between the hand and the brain.

It hurts the patient's movement skills and their speech. It can also affect mood, behavior and thinking. A common symptom of Parkinson’s disease is tremors. Tremors cause people's hands, legs, and arms to shake. Some symptoms include skin problems, depression, and difficulty swallowing.

The symptoms of Parkinson's disease include stiff muscles and trouble with movement. This disease gives patients slow reaction time. It makes it hard for them to do simple things like walking and talking. It also causes depression and other emotional changes.

Treatments

Parkinson's disease cannot be completely cured yet. Still, people have tried to cure it with drugs. One treatment is to put back the lost dopamine. A group of drugs called dopamine receptor agonists acts similarly to dopamine when put in the brain. There are four different drugs included in that group. Many patients take one of those with another drug. That other drug is called L-dopa. Unlike the dopamine, the L-dopa can enter the brain. The dopamine cannot enter the brain. This is why many patients take L-dopa and dopamine together. In the beginning, L-dopa helps a lot. But as the disease develops, the L-dopa doesn't work as well. Two other drugs used are anticholinergics and selegiline. They both help lessen symptoms. Anticholinergics help the patient stop shaking. Selegiline is meant to protect the nerves in the central nervous system. Selegiline is not often used. This is because there is no real proof that it helps.


Parkinson's disease Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.