Parkinson’s disease (PD, also known as idiopathic or primary parkinsonism, hypokinetic rigid syndrome (HRS), or paralysis agitans) is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system mainly affecting the motor system.
The motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease result from the death of dopamine-generating cells in the substantia nigra, a region of the midbrain. The causes of this cell death are poorly understood. Early in the course of the disease, the most obvious symptoms are movement-related; these include shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement and difficulty with walking and gait.
Later, thinking and behavioral problems may arise, with dementia commonly occurring in the advanced stages of the disease, whereas depression is the most common psychiatric symptom. Other symptoms include sensory, sleep and emotional problems. Parkinson’s disease is more common in older people, with most cases occurring after the age of 50; when it is seen in young adults, it is called young onset PD (YOPD).