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Parkinson's Disease

South Valley Neurology

Neurologists located in Morgan Hill, CA

An estimated 60,000 new cases of Parkinson’s disease are diagnosed every year in the United States. Parkinson’s typically begins with mild tremors that gradually worsen over the years. The exceptional doctors at South Valley Neurology specialize in customized Parkinson’s treatment that controls your movements and lengthens the time you can stay active and healthy. To schedule an appointment, use the online booking feature or call the office in Morgan Hill, California.

Parkinson's Disease Q & A

What causes Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s disease develops when nerves in a specific area of your brain degenerate. The affected nerves produce a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which regulates movement and speech. As degeneration leads to nerve death, levels of dopamine drop and muscle control declines.

After 80% of your dopamine is gone, you’ll start to develop Parkinson’s symptoms. While Parkinson’s is chronic and progressive, the rate of disease progression varies for each patient.

What symptoms develop due to Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s disease causes four primary symptoms:

  • Tremors or uncontrollable shaking
  • Rigidity or muscle stiffness
  • Postural instability or loss of balance
  • Bradykinesia or changes in movement

Tremors usually begin on one side of your body and gradually spread to the other side. It’s common to have tremors while you rest that improve with activity. However, 25% of patients have tremors all the time.

Bradykinesia refers to changes in your movement such as slow movement, gradual loss of movement, and the inability to use facial muscles to make expressions.

Parkinson’s disease may also cause:

  • Shuffling gait
  • Foot dragging
  • Loss of movement
  • Stooped posture
  • Changes in handwriting
  • Difficulty swallowing

Many patients notice changes in their voice and speech. For example, they may speak more softly or quickly, speak with a flat voice, or slur their words.

How is Parkinson’s disease treated?

Medications are the primary treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Several medications are available to relieve your symptoms, and each type uses a different mechanism of action. Some replace dopamine or mimic its action, while others relieve tremors. Your South Valley Neurology doctor may also prescribe medications that boost dopamine by blocking certain enzymes or other neurotransmitters.

If your medications cause severe side effects or your Parkinson’s progresses to a stage where medications stop helping, your South Valley Neurology provider talks with you about whether you want to consider deep brain stimulation (DBS).

Deep brain stimulation (DBS)

During DBS surgery, electrodes are implanted into the areas of your brain that control movement. Your surgeon connects the electrodes to a small generator that’s placed under the skin of your chest. The generator sends mild electrical impulses to the electrodes, which in turn block the brain’s nerve signals responsible for tremors and rigidity.

After discussing the benefits and risks of DBS, you’re referred to a neurological surgeon for the procedure. However, you can depend on your doctor at South Valley Neurology to continue serving as your primary provider. Once the DBS device has been surgically implanted, patients can expect to see your neurologist on a monthly basis. The specialized providers at South Valley Neurology are equipped to manage and monitor the on-going programming of the DBS device after the surgery to ensure a successful result.

To get exceptional long-term care for Parkinson’s disease, call South Valley Neurology to request an appointment today.