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What is Bradykinesia?

This is a medical condition/term that means slow movement and is sometimes a symptom of other diseases. When a person has Bradykinesia they usually have a decrease in mobility and slow motion of all muscle movements. It is often confused with the medical condition/term called Hypokinesia, which means that a person has decreased bodily movement. Basically when a person has Bradykinesia it has to do with the speed of the movement and Hypokinesia is having trouble initiating the movement. It is possible for a person to have both of these conditions/symptoms. When a person has Bradykinesia it comes on suddenly and is usually very stressful for that person because it is the beginning of a loss of their individual independence. In the United States there are approximately one million people who have some level of Bradykinesia and for many of them it does not become a serious condition.

Bradykinesia Symptoms

The main symptom is slow movement, as this is what the terminology means. When a person has this symptom they may have a hard time to in completing the movement once the attempt has been initiated because of the impact on the function of their basal ganglia, which is the part of the brain that is responsible for motor learning and control.

Other symptoms a person may have include

  • Tremors
  • Weakness
  • Rigidity
  • Atkinesia which means slow to initiate
  • Hypokinesia
  • Inaccuracy in your movements

Bradykinesia Causes

Normally when a person has been diagnosed with Bradykinesia this usually means that they have been identified as having one of many different diseases with in which it is a symptom. The most common disease this symptom is associated with is Parkinson’s disease.

Bradykinesia can also happen because of:

  • The use of anti-psychotic medications. This is because when a patient is on this type of medication they are in a state of calm where their movements are considerably slowed. This medication does not cause Bradykinesia in everyone who takes it.
  • It can be a symptom of a central nervous system disorder

It starts within your central nervous system where your brain and your basal ganglia are not appropriately communicating with each other to adequately produce the desired movement. What this means is that your basal ganglia is hyperactive and is not able to deliver the right messages to your muscles in the typical and timely fashion.

Bradykinesia Treatment

Overtime the conditions that have caused a person to have Bradykinesia progressively become worse. Many times people will choose to treat it without using chemical prescriptions. Some things that can help a person who has Bradykinesia may include:

  • Using some type of walking stick, walker, or cane to help them from falling.
  • Minimize multi-tasking to help reduce the mixed messages that are being sent to your basal ganglia.
  • Focus on just one task at a time.
  • If you need medical help, ask for it.

There are also two different therapies that a person can try.

Neuro-protective therapy

With this therapy, the goal is to slow down the progression of the condition by interfering with nerve cell degeneration.

Restorative therapy

With this therapy it is intended to replace the neurons that have been lost. They can do this by transplanting embryonic cells which may be able to perform normal function of your nervous system pathways. They may also be able to use genetic modification of the cells to help restore normal function.

To help alleviate some of the symptoms the physician may prescribe certain medications like Amantadine, Sinemet, Cardidopa, and others. If it is a severe case of Bradykinesia they may opt to use surgical intervention but this in not a preferred choice. Today they prefer to use deep brain stimulation over the more invasive surgical procedures that surgeons used in the past. If the cause is anti-psychotic medications the physician can adjust the dosage of the medication or switch to another medication.

Another common form of treatment is to use the medication L-DOPA which is usually given orally and is a precursor that once it has dissolved in your body will convert into dopamine.

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