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Parkinson's and Movement Disorders Unit

This unit is a specific project developed by the Neurology Service of the HUSR to address neurodegenerative diseases that are characterised by a progressive neuronal loss controlling motor, behavioural and cognitive systems, leading to the development of common diseases such as Parkinson's, other types of parkinsonism or other types of rare diseases such as Huntington's.

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Symptoms of these diseases can sometimes appear 20 years before the onset of dementia and end up affecting the quality of life of patients and their carers.

This project has a multidisciplinary approach, specialised in treating the pathology related mainly to movement disorders, providing health assistance but also focussing on research and teaching.

The mission of the Parkinson's and Movement Disorders Unit is to identify and provide a diagnosis that confirms or rules out the existence of a neurodegenerative disease and to establish the best possible therapeutic strategy.

Who is the unit for?

It is basically for patients of any age who present any type of movement, behavioural or memory disorder. It is essentially focused on diseases which involve movement disorders, either in paucity, such as slowness, or in excess, such as tics, trembling or chorea.

Why come to our unit?

Neurodegenerative diseases are generally related to ageing, with age being the main risk factor, as well as environmental factors, and much less frequently due to hereditary causes.

Consequently, on many occasions, the onset of these diseases coincides with ageing, and the symptoms can be attributed to this natural process. However, they may be unrelated, and patients consult a specialist at a much more advanced stage.

Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's, with a prevalence in the Canary Islands of 4,500-5,000 patients and an incidence of approximately 200 new cases per year. The degenerative process can start between 15 and 20 years before the symptoms of the disease appear.  It can begin with loss of smell, change in intestinal habits, sleep disturbances, pain, depression, among others.

These are non-specific symptoms in most cases. It is important to know that Parkinson's disease is not always accompanied by tremor, which is a very visible symptom and makes it easier to diagnose more quickly. Sometimes, it manifests itself with some type of behavioural change, sadness, slowness of movement, or alteration of balance and posture. These changes could simply be attributed to natural ageing in the initial stages, so it would be advisable to visit a neurology specialist early on as it may not be related to age but to the disease.

If, on the other hand, patients begin to have memory problems, recent forgetfulness, difficulty in learning new knowledge, in remembering relevant events, trouble with language or orientation, changes in mood and behaviour, it would also be advisable for them to be assessed early by a multidisciplinary team of neurology and neuropsychology specialists, regardless of age.

It is true that at present, there are no treatments that cure these diseases; however, an early diagnosis and the personalised and individualised start of treatment helps to slow down the degenerative process. And in many cases, it controls and significantly improves the symptoms of the disease. It also helps to improve the quality of life of the patient and the family member or primary carer.

Differential services

  • Early detection of Parkinson's and other parkinsonisms. Study and orientation of appropriate therapeutic strategies.
  • Study of tremor
  • Study of dystonia
  • Gait disturbances and instability
  • Tics and Tourette's syndrome
  • Choreas and Huntington’s disease

Different types of dementia

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