Bob Ray died from Parkinson’s Disease.
The disorder often results in the inability to move the body, and that challenge becomes a reality for many who suffer from it.
"The first specific symptom that people notice is typically tremor", says Doctor Henk Klopper of The Center for Neuroscience, Orthopaedics & Spine.
Doctor Henk Klopper of The Center for Neurosciences, Orthopaedics & Spine says Parkinson’s Disease affects the part of our brain involved in coordinating movement.
"It most commonly starts to effect people in their mid-50’s but its not unheard of to see cases earlier at younger ages than that even as young as the 20’s or 30’s",
The symptoms of the often debilitating disorder include tremors, some rigidity of the limbs, slowness of movement and at times, the inability to move at all.
"For reasons that are still not fully understood a part of the brain starts to degenerate slowly ."
Doctors explain, deep Inside the brain, part of the brain stem known as the Substantia Nigra, is most affected by Parkinson’s strikes.
That’s where a specific group of nerves responsible for movement-controlling-chemicals — fail.–
"Its deep inside where the large thinking part of our brain connects to the brain stem."
A number of medications are available for Parkinson’s.
But those drugs don’t necessarily cure or slow down the disease.
What they can do — is help patients maintain a functional lifestyle.
"They are able to help people maintain functional status and dependent status for longer and live longer with the disease."
Surgery in the form of deep brain stimulation is an option.
That’s when small electric conductors are implanted in the brain.
The procedure can help with symptoms and medications and can also help some people become functional for a longer period of time.
"It used to be the case that there is a shorter life expectancy with Parkinson’s disease but now its modern treatments life expectancy is not much different than someone who doesn’t its just that the people with the disease tend to have more trouble moving around and tend to have trouble doing activities of daily living."
In spite of its effects on the human body’s motor system, specialists say staying active is extremely important for patients with the disease.
"there are some specific physical therapy modalities that are used for patients that are designed for patients with Parkinson’s disease that are very helpful"