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Stroke as a Cause of Parkinson's Disease

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Updated June 15, 2014

Stroke as a Cause of Parkinson's Disease
Photo © A.D.A.M.
Parkinson's Disease is normally caused by the spontaneous degeneration of areas of the brain which specifically control the initiation, rhythm, and smoothness of our movements, the tone of our muscles, and the mechanisms that allow our bodies to maintain a normal posture at all times, effortlessly. As these areas degenerate, these mechanisms break down, and the typical symptoms of Parkinson's disease begin to emerge.

These symptoms include a tremor, which is very noticeable in the hands and which happens when the hands are at rest, difficulty initiating movements, slowness of movements, stiff muscle tone which makes walking and moving extremely difficult, and an abnormal body posture.

Parkinson's Disease Caused by Stroke - Vascular Parkinsonism

The areas of the brain that are affected spontaneously by Parkinson's disease can also be affected by many small strokes which can happen over time in people who have stroke risk factors. When this happens, a person is said to have acquired "vascular parkinsonism" which is sometimes called "multi-infarct parkinsonism." This diagnosis is supported by evidence of strokes in a CT or MRI of the brain.

More often than not, this syndrome comes along with other problems in the brain which can cause other symptoms including vascular dementia.

Treatment of Vascular Parkinsonism

The most commonly used medications for vascular parkinsonism are L-Dopa and amantadine. However, many patients fail to respond to these medications. Cases which are resistant to these treatments should be followed closely by a neurologist who specializes in movement disorders.

Learn More About Parkinson's Disease

Source:

Bradley G Walter, Daroff B Robert, Fenichel M Gerald, Jancovic, Joseph; Neurology in clinical practice, principles of diagnosis and management. Philadelphia Elsevier, 2004.

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