Progressive Supranuclear Palsy

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Progressive Supranuclear Palsy


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What is progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP)?

What are the symptoms and signs of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP)?

How is progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) diagnosed?

How common is progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP)?

What are the treatments for progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP)?

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What is progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP)?

Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) is a neurological disorder that causes problems with walking, balance, speech, swallowing, sleep, and personality. The hallmark features of progressive supranuclear palsy are weakness of eye muscles and an inability to aim the eyes in a downward gaze.

While the cause of this disorder is unknown, the symptoms result from lesions in the area of the brain that controls eye movements.

 

What are the symptoms and signs of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP)?

The symptoms of progressive supranuclear palsy are progressive, meaning that they worsen over time. Often the first symptom is a loss of balance while walking. Other common symptoms include:

  • awkward or stiff gait
  • blurred vision
  • changes in mood and behavior, including depression and apathy
  • difficulty controlling eye movements and eyelids
  • difficulty opening the eyes
  • difficulty swallowing
  • dizziness
  • inability to maintain eye contact
  • inappropriate laughing or crying
  • involuntary closing of the eyes
  • progressive mild dementia
  • prolonged or infrequent blinking
  • slurred speech

 

How is progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) diagnosed?

The diagnosis of progressive supranuclear palsy is based on physical and neurological examination, including identification of early gait instability and difficulty moving the eyes.

 

How common is progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP)?

It is estimated that 20,000 Americans have progressive supranuclear palsy. Symptoms usually begin around age 60, and more men than women are affected.

 

What are the treatments for progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP)?

There is currently no effective treatment for progressive supranuclear palsy. However, individual symptoms may be managed using different therapies that include:

  • botulinim injections to help with excessive eye closing
  • medication to manage parkinsonian symptoms such as stiffness and gait issues
  • physical and occupational therapy to address quality of life and activities of daily living
  • prism glasses to assist with looking downwards
  • weighted walking aids to help prevent falls

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How can we help you?

To schedule an appointment with a physician please call (602) 406-6262.

To schedule an appointment with therapy services please call (602) 406-5266.

Community Outreach and Education programs are available to anyone with Parkinson’s disease regardless of where medical care is received. Please call (602) 406-4921 for more information.

Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center and Movement Disorders Clinic
Barrow Neurological Institute
240 West Thomas Road
Phoenix, Arizona 85013

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Barrow Neurological Institute
350 W. Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85013
(602) 406-3000