Parkinson’s disease affects the way you move. It happens when there is a problem with certain nerve cells in the brain.

Normally, these nerve cells make an important chemical called dopamine. Dopamine sends signals to the part of your brain that controls movement. It lets your muscles move smoothly and do what you want them to do. When you have Parkinson's, these nerve cells break down. Then you no longer have enough dopamine, and you have trouble moving the way you want to.

Parkinson's is progressive, which means it gets worse over time. But usually this happens slowly, over many years. And there are good treatments that can help you live a full life.

The four main symptoms of Parkinson's are:
-Tremor, which means shaking or trembling. Tremor may affect your hands, arms, or legs.
-Stiff muscles.
-Slow movement.
-Problems with balance or walking.

People usually start to have symptoms between the ages of 50 and 60.

-Usually this disease progresses slowly. Some people live for many years with only minor symptoms.
-Many people are able to keep working for years. As the disease gets worse, you may need to change how you work.
-It is important to take an active role in your health care. Find a doctor you trust and can work with.
-Depression is common in people who have Parkinson's. If you feel very sad or hopeless, talk to your doctor or see a counselor.
-It can make a big difference to know that you're not alone. Ask your doctor about Parkinson's support groups, or look for online groups or message boards.
-Parkinson's affects more than just the person who has it. It also affects your loved ones. Be sure to include them in your decisions.