Standardized Patient Actor Training
Section 4 - The Parkinson's Disease Patient
WHAT IS PARKINSON'S DISEASE?
Parkinson's disease damages brain cells that produce dopamine, a chemical that tells the body when and how to move. Because there is not enough dopamine, controlling movement becomes difficult. Therefore, Parkinson's disease is classified as a movement disorder.
Parkinson's disease is a progressive disease. The symptoms start slowly and get worse over time. They include the following:
- Tremors - shaking or rhythmic movements that are most often seen in the hands, particularly when at rest
- Rigid limbs and trunk, perhaps with feelings of weakness or aching
- Slowness of movement
- Poor balance and coordination, often with a shuffling walk
Not all patients will experience every one of the above symptoms, although they typically develop at least two of them as the disease progresses.