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Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder caused by degeneration of nerve cells in the part of the brain that controls movement. These nerve cells die or become impaired, losing the ability to produce an important chemical called dopamine.

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, approximately 60,000 new cases of Parkinson’s disease are diagnosed each year, adding to the estimated one to 1.5 million Americans who currently have the disease. While the condition usually develops after the age of 55, the disease may affect people in their 30s and 40s.

Common Symptoms

  • Tremor, or the involuntary and rhythmic movements of the hands, arms, legs and jaw.
  • Muscle rigidity, or stiffness of the limbs – most common in the arms, shoulders or neck.
  • Gradual loss of spontaneous movement, which often leads to decreased mental skill or reaction time, voice changes, decreased facial expression, etc.
  • Gradual loss of automatic movement, which may lead to decreased blinking, decreased frequency of swallowing, and drooling.
  • A stooped, flexed posture with bending at the elbows, knees and hips.
  • Unsteady walk or balance.
  • Depression or dementia.

The diagnosis of Parkinson's is primarily based on the patient’s medical history. There is no X-ray or blood test to confirm the disease. However, noninvasive diagnostic imaging, such as a positron emission tomography (PET) scan can support a doctor's diagnosis.

The majority of Parkinson's patients are treated with medications to relieve disease symptoms. Levodopa is the most frequently prescribed medication for Parkinson’s, but there are several other medicines used to treat the disease.

Essential Tremor

Essential tremor is uncontrolled shaking or trembling, usually of one or both hands or arms, that worsens when basic movements are attempted. Essential tremor affects about five million people in the U.S. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, essential tremor is found most commonly in adults over the age of 65.

It is caused by abnormalities in areas of the brain that control movement and is not tied to an underlying disease (e.g., Parkinson's disease). About 50 percent of patients have a family history of the condition. Essential tremor usually does not result in serious complications, but it can interfere with daily activities and cause distress.

In some cases, physical therapy or changes in lifestyle may improve symptoms. If the condition affects a patient's ability to perform daily tasks and has a negative impact on quality of life, medication or surgery may be considered.

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)

For many patients with Parkinson’s and essential tremor, medications are effective for maintaining a good quality of life. As these disorders progress, however, some patients may have more difficulty controlling their movements.

While there are several types of surgeries to improve movement for Parkinson’s and essential tremor patients, deep brain stimulation (DBS) offers a good alternative to more invasive procedures.

During DBS, a hair-thin wire is implanted in the brain and connected to a neurostimulator implanted under the collarbone. The neurostimulator sends electrical impulses along the wire to the brain, interrupting signals that cause tremor.

After the procedure, the doctor adjusts the settings to optimize the therapy for the specific patient. Getting the initial settings adjusted correctly for the patient may take several sessions. Over time, the settings can be adjusted as symptoms change. A few weeks after the procedure, the patient can return to normal daily activities.

Providence neurosurgeon Joshua A. Klemp, M.D., performs deep brain stimulation. For more information or to schedule an appointment with him, call 913-955-3300.

Primary Care

Basehor
15604 Pinehurst Drive, #2
Basehor, KS 66012
(913) 728-2200
Bonner Springs
913 Sheidley
Bonner Springs, KS 66012
(913) 322-7222
Lansing
712 First Terrace
Lansing, KS 66043
(913) 727-6000
Family Medical Group (KC)
8101 Parallel Pkwy , #100
Kansas City, KS 66112
(913) 299-9200
Family Medicine Specialists (KC)
1150 N 75th Place, #200
Kansas City, KS 66112
(913) 299-2100

Cardiology

Kansas City
8919 Parallel Parkway, #580
Kansas City, KS 66112
(913) 596-7224
Lansing
712 First Terrace, #202
Kansas City, KS 66032
(913) 727-1131
Cardiothoracic Surgery-KC
8919 Parallel Parkway, #580
Kansas City, KS 66112
(913) 825-0500

Specialty Care

Neurology- Kansas City
8919 Parallel Parkway, #440
Kansas City, KS 66112
(913) 596-7286
Neurology- Shawnee
7255 Renner Road
Shawnee, KS 66217
(913) 596-7286
OB/GYN-Kansas City
8919 Parallel Parkway, #455
Kansas City, KS 66112
(913) 596-4929
OB/GYN-Leavenworth
3550 S. Fourth Street, #282
Leavenworth, KS 66048
(913) 596-4929
OB/GYN-Shawnee
7255 Renner Road
Shawnee, KS 66217`
(913) 596-4929
PMG-Neurosurgery
8919 Parallel Parkway, #331
Kansas City, KS 66112
(913) 955-3300
Pain Medicine- Kansas City
8919 Parallel Parkway, #416
Kansas City, KS 66112
(913) 596-5104

Surgery

Kansas City
8919 Parallel Parkway, #206
Kansas City, KS 66112
(913) 334-6800
Leavenworth
3550 S. Fourth Street, #282
Leavenworth, KS 66048
(913) 334-6800
Shawnee
7255 Renner Road
Shawnee, KS 66217
(913) 334-6800

Orthopedics

Orthopedics
8919 Parallel Parkway, #555
Kansas City, KS 66112
(913) 596-3940

8929 Parallel Parkway
Kansas City, KS 66112

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