We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Paralysis Agitans?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Paralysis agitans is an outdated medical term once used to refer to the condition now known as Parkinson's disease. It can be encountered in old medical texts and sometimes shows up when people are conducting historical research of a medical nature. The name change reflects the research conducted by James Parkinson in the 1800s. He contributed a detailed description and, as is common in medicine, the disease was named after him to honor his contribution to understanding of the disease.

This term literally means “shaky palsy,” a reference to the hallmark symptom of paralysis agitans. This condition, classified as a movement disorder, usually starts to manifest with tremors in the hands, proceeding to a bent, shuffling gait. Over time, the patient can start to experience a cognitive decline, along with the tremors, and may find it increasingly difficult to complete basic tasks. Patients may need assistance from an aide with tasks of daily living and can be at risk of slips and falls, potentially posing a danger for people with brittle bones that may fracture when stressed.

Paralysis agitans involves damage to the midbrain, the area of the brain responsible for regulating movement. In healthy individuals, the brain controls movements to limit shaking, firing neurons to help muscles work in opposition to each other to stabilize motions. Especially with the hands, precision movements require very exact control. In people with this condition, the brain does not function properly and the body starts to shake due to the lack of muscle control.

It is not possible to cure paralysis agitans, but the condition can be managed. Medications are available to replace missing neurotransmitters and increase muscle control. Physical therapy helps some patients. Adaptations such as using devices designed to help people with shaky hands when it comes to gripping and manipulating objects are also available. All of these treatment options can be adjusted over time as the patient's condition evolves.

There are numerous potential reasons for hand tremors, and people who start to notice poor muscle control should not assume it is the result of paralysis agitans. A thorough evaluation by a neurologist, including imaging studies of the brain, is necessary to determine why the patient is having problems. The tremors may be related to a curable condition, or could be caused by an issue that needs to be managed differently than this common disease of aging. Especially if tremors appear when someone is young, they may be caused by something entirely different.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.