What is Parkinson's disease?
Parkinson's disease is a motor system disorder that is caused by the progressive loss of dopamine-producing nerve cells, or neurons. Dopamine is a chemical messenger responsible for transmitting signals within the brain. Loss of dopamine causes the nerve cells to fire out of control, leaving patients unable to direct or control their movement in a normal manner. The disease is both chronic and progressive.
There is no single diagnostic test for Parkinson's disease. It is usually diagnosed when the physician can detect signs of the primary symptoms.
- Tremor or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face
- Rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk
- Bradykinesia or slowness of movement
- Postural instability or impaired balance and coordination
Parkinson's disease patients with tremors that are no longer controlled by medications can now be evaluated and treated at Broward Health North. State-of-the-art neurosurgery – Deep Brain Stimulation – uses mild electrical stimulation to block the brain signals that cause tremors. When these tremors are controlled, patients can resume their activities of daily living. The control device is similar to an advanced cardiac pacemaker and can be turned on and off by the patient.
Comprehensive care is provided to surgery patients and their families before, during and after surgery by the Neurological Institute. Neurologists, nurses and other staff provide the service and support needed during the adjustment process.
The South Florida Chapter of the American Parkinson's Disease Association (APDA) and its Information and Referral Center is located within the Neurological Institute at Broward Health North. APDA offers a complement of services to Parkinson's patients, their families and caregivers including:
- Respite care
- Support Groups
- Community referrals
- Quality of life series
For more information, please call 954-786-2305.