Parkinson's disease (PD or, simply, Parkinson's) is the most common form of parkinsonism, a group of motor system disorders. It is a slowly progressing, degenerative disease that is usually associated with the following symptoms, all of which result from the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells:
tremor or trembling of the arms, jaw, legs, and face
stiffness or rigidity of the limbs and trunk
bradykinesia (slowness of movement)
postural instability, or impaired balance and coordination
Dopamine is a substance produced in the body which has many effects, including smooth and coordinated muscle movement.
It is incorrectly believed that Parkinson's disease disappeared after the introduction of levodopa (L-dopa) in the 1960s. In fact, about 60,000 Americans are newly diagnosed with Parkinson's disease each year, with more than 1 million Americans affected at any one time. Further, more people suffer from Parkinson's disease than multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis combined.Learn more about Parkinson's Disease ›