Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How does someone get Parkinson's disease?"
I've always had a little shake in my right hand but now that I'm getting older it is getting worse. Is this a sign that I could have Parkinson's disease? What causes Parkinson's?
Parkinson's disease is a condition of the brain that causes changes in someone's ability to move. More specifically, it makes it more difficult to initiate movements. It is caused by a deficiency of the neurotransmitter dopamine in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra. Parkinson's disease typically causes slow movements and a slight slow moving tremor in one hand. Parkinson's does not cause a slight shake or high frequency tremor of the hand as seen in most people. It is a disease that does affect mostly older people, but has been seen in younger people. Many other types of tremor can also get worse with age which could explain your current symptoms. A difference between most shakes and a Parkinson's tremor should be very evident by most trained physicians. Thus, I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician (family doctor or internal medicine doctor). He or she can listen to your description of your tremor and perform a neurological exam to look for other signs. If your doctor thinks that Parkinson's disease is a possible explanation for your tremor, then you will need a referral to see a neurologist. Good luck.
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