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Parkinson's Disease Specialist

Shankle Clinic

Neurology Specialists located in Newport Beach, CA

In the United States, an estimated 60,000 new cases of Parkinson’s disease are diagnosed every year. William Shankle, MS, MD, FACP, and the team at Shankle Clinic in Newport Beach, California, have extensive experience diagnosing Parkinson’s disease and working closely with each patient to provide treatment that controls their symptoms and helps them maintain an active, healthy life. If you develop tremors or muscle stiffness, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.

Parkinson's Disease Q & A

What causes Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s disease occurs when nerves in a specific region of your brain degenerate. The affected nerves release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that regulates movement.

As nerves die, dopamine levels drop, and your muscle control diminishes. Though Parkinson’s is a chronic and progressive disease, the symptoms and the rate of disease progression vary for each person.

What symptoms develop due to Parkinson’s disease?

Patients who have Parkinson’s disease experience four primary types of symptoms:

  • Tremor (uncontrollable shaking)
  • Rigidity (muscle stiffness)
  • Postural instability (loss of balance)
  • Bradykinesia (slow movement)

Parkinson’s tremors are typically worse when you rest, then improve when you’re active. However, about 25% of patients have constant tremors.

You may also develop symptoms such as:

  • Shuffling gait
  • Foot dragging
  • Stooped posture
  • Changes in handwriting
  • Difficulty swallowing

Many patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease notice changes in their voice and speech. For example, they may speak more softly, slur their words, or speak with a flat voice.

What is Parkinson’s dementia?

Some patients with Parkinson’s disease develop dementia when proteins called Lewy bodies build up in their brain and damage nerves. This type of dementia is progressive and causes symptoms such as:

  • Changes in thinking
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion

The degree of confusion often varies throughout the day and from one day to the next.

What treatment might I receive for Parkinson’s disease?

The team at Shankle Clinic develops personalized treatment based on your symptoms. As a general guideline, there are three approaches: lifestyle changes, medications, and surgery.

Lifestyle changes

Lifestyle changes are designed to support your overall health and mobility. For example, a nutrient-rich diet and limiting stress support your general health, while exercise and physical therapy improve movement.

Medications

Many different medications are available to relieve your symptoms. Some medications replace, boost, or mimic dopamine, while others relieve tremors.

Surgery

When you can’t take medication due to side effects, or your symptoms progress to a stage where medications no longer help, the team at Shankle Clinic may talk with you about deep brain stimulation (DBS).

DBS is a type of surgery in which Dr. Shankle implants electrodes into the areas of your brain that regulate movement. He connects the electrodes to a small generator that is inserted under your skin. The generator sends mild electrical pulses to the electrodes, which block the nerve signals triggering symptoms such as tremors.

If you develop tremors or changes in movement, call Shankle Clinic or schedule an appointment online.