font size


Parkinson's Disease and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy

Introduction to Progressive Supranuclear Palsy

Progressive supranuclear palsy, or PSP, is a rare neurodegenerative disease that is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease because it carries similar symptoms. Because of its rarity, PSP is mostly unknown by the general public.

What Causes PSP?

PSP develops because of the deterioration of brain cells in a few small, but very important areas at the base of the brain. The most important affected area is the substantia nigra. When this area of the brain is affected by the disease, a lot of the palsy's symptoms become more visible. Research is still being conducted as to why the brain cells degenerate.

What Are the Early Symptoms of PSP?

The beginning stages of PSP include the inability to walk, falling spells, and stiffness. Falls experienced by a PSP patient are often described as having a state of dizziness, prior to actually falling. This dizziness description is sometimes misdiagnosed as an inner ear problem or a hardening of the arteries that are blocking blood flow to the brain.

Other common symptoms of PSP include:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Change in personality
  • Loss of interest in usual socializing with family and friends

What Are Some of the Later Symptoms of PSP?

The word "progressive" was included in the palsy's name because symptoms typically progressively worsen for a patient. After seven to nine years, PSP becomes more difficult to deal with. The disease usually causes physical imbalance and stiffness of the body to grow worse, making walking very difficult or sometimes impossible.

Problems with eyesight also occur in the later stages of PSP. Usually visual problems can become as much of an issue as impaired walking for the patient. Eyesight is most affected by the difficulty to aim the eye properly, making reading very hard. Another eyesight problem that is sometimes encountered is the inability to maintain visual contact with another person during conversation. PSP can also cause "tunnel vision", which sometimes causes problems while a person is trying to drive a car.

© 2005-2014 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
Source article on WebMD


Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy - Early Symptoms Question: What early symptoms did you have with your progressive supranuclear palsy?
Progressive Supranuclear Palsy - Treatment Question: How was your progressive supranuclear palsy treated?
Progressive Supranuclear Palsy - Later Symptoms Question: Do you have a friend or relative with PSP? Please discuss the later symptoms associated with the disease.
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/progressive_supranuclear_palsy/article.htm

WebMD Daily

Get breaking medical news.

advertisement
advertisement
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations

NIH talks about Ebola on WebMD