Every April 11, World Parkinson’s Day is commemorated. This date was proclaimed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in commemoration of the anniversary of James Párkinson, a British doctor who first described the disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects the nervous system in a chronic and progressive manner. It is considered the second most prevalent disease today after Alzheimer’s and belongs to the so-called Movement Disorders.

Parkinson’s disease is characterized by the loss of neurons in the substantia nigra, a structure located in the middle part of the brain. This loss causes a lack of dopamine in the body, a substance that transmits information necessary for us to carry out movements normally. The lack of dopamine causes movement control to be altered, giving rise to typical motor symptoms, such as tremor at rest or rigidity.

The pathology is preceded by the death or breakdown of nerve cells (neurons) in our brain. Most of the symptoms are caused by the same loss: neurons that produce dopamine, a chemical in the brain that helps humans have coordinated muscle movements and mood.

In this sense, it has been shown that when dopamine decreases between 60 and 80%, abnormal brain activity is generated, which ends up producing Parkinson’s.

Myths about Parkinson’s

  • All patients have tremor.
  • They won’t walk anymore.
  • There is no solution or treatment.
  • The only treatment that exists is medication.
  • Parkinson’s is always hereditary.

Diagnosis and treatment

The diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is based on the questioning and physical examination of the patient and complementary studies that, in general, are used to rule out other pathologies.

Currently, treatment is focused on controlling symptoms and delaying the progression of the disease, which is why early detection is very important.