Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects how one moves. According to the Parkinson's Foundation, there are nearly one million Americans living with this disease.

If you would like to know more, here are some answers to three frequently asked questions about Parkinson's disease.

1. Can Parkinson's Disease Be Prevented?

It's not exactly known why some people get Parkinson's disease. One theory is that the brain's basal ganglia is beginning to degenerate. The basal ganglia is responsible for integrating and selecting voluntary behavior. Another possible cause is low levels of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with motor system functions. Some people have certain risk factors that increase their chances of getting Parkinson's disease than others.

These risk factors include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • History of traumatic brain injury
  • Exposure to certain toxins

While Parkinson's disease cannot be prevented, there are some things people can do to lower their risk of the disease. Avoiding the use of pesticides, reducing the chances of head trauma, and getting adequate amounts of exercise can help lower the risk of Parkinson's disease.

2. How Is Parkinson's Disease Treated?

Currently, Parkinson's disease cannot be cured. However, there are certain types of treatment that can help those with Parkinson's disease manage their symptoms. If the disease is caught right away, the patient may want to enroll in early-stage Parkinson's disease clinical trials. During these clinical trials, doctors can try different kinds of treatments that could help slow the progression of the disease.

One such treatment used during early-stage Parkinson's disease clinical trials is deep brain stimulation (DBS). This surgical procedure can help reduce tremors and prevent permanent adverse effects of the disease. Besides DBS, certain medications that increase dopamine levels in the brain are another way to treat the symptoms. Both medication and DBS can help decrease the severity of tremors, help the muscles relax, and improve balance.

3. What Complications Does Parkinson's Disease Cause?

It's especially common for those with Parkinson's disease to suffer complications during the later stages of the disease. One of the most common complications is cognitive impairments such as thinking difficulties and memory problems. As the condition progresses, other complications might include:

  • Chewing and eating problems
  • Sleep issues
  • Incontinence
  • Constipation

It's also not uncommon to experience depression and other mental health issues, such as fear and anxiety, throughout any stage of the disease. Those with Parkinson's disease who are struggling emotionally can be treated with antidepressants and other mood stabilizers.

For more information, reach out to an early-stage Parkinson's disease clinical trials service near you.