How a Neurologist Can Help People with Parkinson’s Disease

From an interview with
Dr. Christopher Zust
McLeod Neurological Associates

In South Carolina, Parkinson’s disease affects more than 12,400 people. And according to the Parkinson’s Foundation Parkinson’s Prevalence Project, by 2030, approximately 1.2 million people in the U.S. will be living with this condition. McLeod Neurologist Dr. Christopher Zust explains the causes of Parkinson’s and lifestyle choices that may help reduce the risk for this disease.

“Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurologic condition involving issues with starting, stopping motion and tremors, although there are many other symptoms. It’s caused by degeneration of a part of the brain called the substantia nigra, which is no longer producing adequate amounts of a chemical called dopamine.

Most people are familiar with tremor, although there are many other things that contribute to the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. One of the main risk factors is age, so it is more commonly diagnosed in those over the age of 60. Men seem to be slightly more affected than females, although there are certain occupational exposures, primarily certain pesticides and herbicides, which are thought to contribute to possibly developing Parkinson’s disease.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but there are some effective treatments. There are no guaranteed ways to prevent the disease, but there is some thought that maintaining a healthy lifestyle, healthy eating habits, avoiding smoking, as well as avoiding other risk factors may help prevent Parkinson’s disease.

A patient who is concerned that they may have Parkinson’s disease should be evaluated by a neurologist, as there are many conditions that can mimic Parkinson’s disease, such as other tremor conditions or other conditions that involve difficulty with moving the arms and legs. A neurologist evaluation can help distinguish whether this is Parkinson’s disease or a potential other condition. If a person is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, the neurologist can help formulate a treatment plan that’s personalized for that individual and help treat the symptoms.”

To learn more, speak with a neurologist near you.