Managing Medications for Hospital Patients With Parkinson Disease

Dorothy J. Moore; Bonnie M. Smith; Maria H. Cho


Am Nurs Journal. 2017;12(1) 

In This Article

Pathophysiology and Assessment

In PD, dopamine-producing neurons in the brain's substantia nigra decrease. Eventually, dopamine production drops below a certain threshold.

Early PD signs and symptoms are subtle and come on gradually. As the disease progresses, tremor may begin to interfere with daily activities. Classic motor symptoms include tremor, bradykinesia (slow movement), rigidity or stiffness, poor balance, and incoordination. Those affected may have difficulty walking, talking, or completing simple tasks.

Some patients also have nonmotor symptoms, such as depression and anxiety; slowed thinking; moodiness, loss of smell; pain; hypotension; difficulty swallowing, chewing, and speaking; urinary problems; constipation; skin problems; and sleep disruption. Researchers believe many years of nonmotor symptoms occur before the classic triad of motor symptoms (tremor, bradykinesia, and rigidity) leads to PD diagnosis.