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Ramon A. Gil, M.D., Board Certified Neurologist

Specializing In the Care and Treatment of Parkinsons Disease and Other Movement Disorders

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Parkinsons Disease

Parkinson's disease is a motor system disorder whose primary symptoms are; 1) tremor, or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face, 2) rigidity, or stiffness of the limbs and trunk, 3) bradykinesia, or slowness of movement, and 4) postural instability, or impaired balance and coordination.  

As these symptoms become more pronounced, patients may have difficulty walking, talking, or completing other simple tasks.  Parkinsons usually affects people over the age of 50.  Early symptoms can be subtle and occur gradually.  In some people, the disease progresses more quickly than in others.  As the disease progresses, the shaking, or tremor, which affects the majority of Parkinsons patients may begin to interfere with daily activities. 

 

Other symptoms may include 1) depression and other emotional changes, 2) difficulty in swallowing, chewing, and speaking, 3) urinary problems or constipation, 4) skin problems, and 5) sleep disruptions. 

 

There are currently no sophisticated blood or laboratory tests available to diagnose the disease. Some imaging tests, such as CT (computed tomography), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans, or Nuclear Medicine scans may be used to rule out other disorders that cause similar symptoms and sometimes provide indications of Parkinson's syndrome in the brain. Given these circumstances, Dr. Gil will need to combine diagnostic test results and observation of the patient over time to recognize signs of tremor and rigidity, and pair them with other characteristic symptoms to aid in the accurate diagnosis.

Dr. Gil will also compile a comprehensive history of the patient's symptoms, activity, medications, other medical problems, and exposures to toxic chemicals. This will likely be followed up with a rigorous physical examination with concentration on the functions of the brain and nervous system. Tests are conducted on the patient's reflexes, coordination, muscle strength, and mental function.

Because the diagnosis is based on the physician’s analysis and his examination of the patient, Dr. Gil’s experience is so very important in correctly evaluating and diagnosing patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Treatment is different for every person, and the type of treatment you will need may change as the disease progresses.  Your age, work status, family, and living situation can all affect decisions about when to begin treatment, what types of treatment to use, and when to make changes in treatment.  As your medical condition changes, you may need regular adjustments in your treatment to balance quality-of-life issues, side effects of treatment, and treatment costs.