The Step by Step 5k for Parkinson's walk at Liberty Station on April 7, 2019 helps fund critical resources to an estimated 60,000 individuals who are affected by Parkinson’s disease right here in San Diego County. Your help is critical to sustain our outreach and our ability to serve the community.
All contributions remain in the County and also help local caregivers and families of those in need. Put on your walking shoes to give people with Parkinson’s disease a great resource and a steadfast ally!
Parkinson’s disease is included in a group of neurological conditions referred to as motor system disorders. Parkinson’s was first called “the shaking palsy” by British doctor James Parkinson in 1817. The disease was named after him because of his early work identifying its symptoms.
In a normal brain, the chemical dopamine is produced by some of the nerve cells. Dopamine is responsible for transmitting signals that tell the brain to produce smooth muscle movements.
For those with Parkinson’s, 80+ percent of the cells that produce dopamine have been damaged, are degenerated or dead. This causes nerve cells to fire wildly, leaving patients unable to control their movements.
Motor symptoms normally appear in one or more ways:
- Trembling (“tremor”) in arms, hands, face, jaw and/or legs
- Rigidity (stiffness) of the trunk or limbs
- Slowness of movement (“bradykinesia”)
- Postural instability (impaired coordination and balance)
Early symptoms are often gradual; they can be so subtle that they are frequently ignored or attributed to normal aging. In the earliest stages, patients may be a little shaky, experience fatigue or feel sad. They may be irritable for no apparent reason; movements can be slow or unsteady; speech may soften.