About Parkinson’s Disease
Each year, nearly 60,000 people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in the United States. Parkinson’s is a degenerative neurological disorder that impairs movement, muscle control and balance. The disease usually affects people between the ages of 55 and 75 years old, but it also can develop in younger people. Although Parkinson’s is not considered fatal, the disease becomes more severe over time.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is difficult to diagnose in its early stages. Typically the disease initially is diagnosed through symptoms, which may include:
- Tremors (shaking) of the hands, arms, legs and face
- Slowness of movement, especially when initiating motion
- Muscle rigidity
- Difficulty with walking, balance and coordination
- Difficulty eating and swallowing
- Digestive problems
- Speech problems
- Difficulties with memory and thought processes
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Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease
Although there is no cure for Parkinson’s, there are treatments that focus on controlling symptoms and improving quality of life. These can include:
- Medications: Because Parkinson’s symptoms are due to a deficiency of the brain chemical dopamine, medication can help increase dopamine levels in the brain.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy is an important part of treatment for Parkinson’s. Rehabilitation can help patients improve their mobility, speech and functional abilities.
- Surgery: Surgery may help control movement difficulties and tremors in some people with advanced-stage Parkinson’s.
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Deep Brain Stimulation Procedure for Parkinson's Disease - Part One and Two - Learn More
Providing Comfort and Relief
Because of an increasing elderly population in Greater Louisville, Parkinson’s disease is a significant health concern. As the region’s leader in providing care for neurological conditions, Norton Neuroscience Institute is dedicated to offering the most advanced treatments for people with Parkinson’s disease. Thanks to a generous gift from Elizabeth Pahk Cressman, M.D., Ph.D., Norton Healthcare and Norton Neuroscience Institute have established the Cressman Parkinson’s Center. This specialized center will allow Norton Neuroscience Institute to enhance care and research efforts for Parkinson’s patients, including recruiting new specialists, developing new technology and enhancing available treatments.
In addition, the Cressman Parkinson’s Center will offer deep brain stimulation, currently the preferred surgical method to help control movement difficulties. This procedure has been used successfully by Norton Neuroscience Institute neurosurgeons Todd Shanks, M.D., and David A. Sun, M.D., Ph.D.
About the Cressmans
Elizabeth Pahk Cressman, M.D., Ph.D. a retired anesthesiologist who practiced primarily at what is now Norton Women's and Kosair Children's Hospital, has lived in Louisville for the past 35 years. She was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, the daughter of a pediatrician. She knew from an early age that she wanted to become a doctor, moving to the United States in 1947 to further her medical education after earning a degree in medicine from Seoul Women’s Medical College. She completed her internship and residency in anesthesiology in Chicago at Wesley Memorial Hospital, Passavant Memorial Hospital and St. Luke’s Hospital (now merged with Cook County Hospital).
Dr. Cressman’s gift to the Norton Healthcare Foundation to establish the Cressman Parkinson’s Center was made in memory of her husband, Frederick K. Cressman, M.D., who died in January 2010 at age 77 after a seven-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Frederick Cressman was the director of pathology at what is now Norton Audubon Hospital from 1975 until his retirement in 1999.