Movement Disorders Clinic
The Movement Disorders Clinic offers therapeutic drug and surgical therapies for movement disorders, including Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, dystonia, and other neurological or movement disorders.
- Our multi-disciplinary team is equipped with special training to diagnose and treat a wide range of movement disorders.
- We are one of only a few facilities in this region to offer patients an innovative new surgical treatment called Deep Brain Stimulation, which delivers precise electrical impulses that greatly reduce tremors, rigidity, slowness of movement and stiffness.
- A nurse practitioner specializing in Parkinson's disease is available to patients at The Neurosciences Institute.
Description of Essential Tremor and Parkinson’s
A tremor is involuntary rhythmic shaking of the limbs or other parts of the body. It is the only symptom of essential tremor and one of four major symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disease that affects a small area of nerve cells in an area of the brain near the neck. These cells, when working normally, produce a chemical substance called dopamine that coordinates smooth and balanced muscle movement. Parkinson's disease causes these cells to die. That leads to a lack of dopamine in the brain, which makes nerve cells fire out of control, causing patients to lose the ability to control their body movements.
Essential tremor is the most common neurological movement disorder in this country. The condition afflicts at least 1 million Americans, usually age 45 or older. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive and degenerative neurological disease that affects approximately 500,000 people in the United States.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
Major symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include:
- Muscle rigidity
- Bradykinesia (the slowing of movement and gradual loss of spontaneous activity)
- Changes in walking pattern and posture
- Changes in speech and handwriting
- Loss of balance and increased falls
Other more general symptoms can include depression, feelings of fear and anxiety, decreased facial expressions, difficulty swallowing and chewing, urinary problems or constipation, skin problems such as dandruff and sleeping problems.
No Known Cure for Parkinson’s Disease
There is no known cure or prevention for Parkinson's disease, so all efforts are focused on the management of the disease. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can allow most people with Parkinson's disease to live enjoyable, fulfilling lives.
Diagnosing Parkinson’s Can Be Difficult
Diagnosing Parkinson's disease is difficult since its symptoms are not always readily apparent and may be common to other medical conditions. Some imaging tests, such as a CT scan (computed tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), may be used to rule out other disorders that cause similar symptoms. There are currently no laboratory tests available to diagnose this disease.
Given these circumstances, diagnosis is based on a rigorous physical examination that concentrates on the functions of the brain and nervous system. Tests are conducted on the patient's reflexes, coordination, muscle strength and mental function. As many as 40 percent of Parkinson’s patients are not accurately diagnosed for years. Prompt diagnosis is important because treatment decisions made early in the illness can have profound implications on the long-term success of the treatment.
Because the diagnosis is based on the physical examination of the patient, it is very important that the physician be experienced in evaluating and diagnosing patients with Parkinson’s disease. Our clinical team has completed special training in order to accurately diagnose all forms of movement disorders.
For more information about the Movement Disorders Clinic, please call (727) 461-8635.
The Neurosciences Institute
Ptak Orthopaedic & Neuroscience Pavilion
430 Morton Plant Street
Clearwater, FL 33756
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