Parkinson’s disease is the second most common degenerative brain disorder affecting adults. (Alzheimer’s disease is the most common.) People of all ethnic groups can develop PD, but it occurs less among African American and Asian populations. Parkinson’s disease was first defined as only a “motor” (movement) disease, but research has shown that it also causes “nonmotor” symptoms (such as lightheadedness when standing up) in other systems of the body.
People with PD are at risk of falling and sustaining other injuries due to their movement and balance challenges. Treatment includes a combination of medication and physical therapy—and in some cases surgery. Physical therapists partner with people with PD and their families to manage their symptoms, maintain their fitness levels, and help them stay as active as possible.