Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a chronic, progressive, and degenerative disease of the nervous system that affects movement. It is due to the malfunction and death of nerve cells in the brain, called neurons. Some of these dying neurons produce dopamine, a chemical that sends messages to the part of your brain that controls movement and coordination. The cause is unknown, but PD can be aggravated by genetic factors, exposure to pesticides or industrial toxins, and the process of aging itself.
The specific group of symptoms associated with PD varies from person to person, but the most common symptom early in the course of the disease is a hand tremor. Primary motor signs of Parkinson’s disease include the following.
- tremor of the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face
- bradykinesia or slowness of movement
- rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk
- postural instability or impaired balance and coordination
As PD progresses, the amount of dopamine produced in your brain decreases. In the later stages, thinking and behavioral problems may arise, with dementia commonly occurring in the advanced stage of the disease. Depression is a common psychiatric symptom. Parkinson’s disease is more common in older people, with most cases occurring after the age of 50.
Social Security Administration Medical Listing 11.06 – Parkinsonian Syndrome
The Social Security Administration recognizes that the progression of your Parkinson’s Disease may limit your functionality, including your ability to engage in substantial gainful employment for a year or longer. You may be eligible to receive disability benefits under the Social Security Administration if you have a diagnosis of PD with the following signs: Significant rigidity, bradykinesia, or tremor in two extremities, which, singly or in combination, result in sustained disturbance of gross and dexterous movements, or gait and station.
Your representative can help you determine whether your PD is severe enough for you to qualify for disability benefits under the Social Security Administration.