Dystonia-Parkinsonism (X-Linked)

X-linked dystonia-parkinsonism is a movement disorder that has been found only in people of Filipino descent. This condition affects men much more often than women.

Parkinsonism is usually the first sign of X-linked dystonia-parkinsonism. Parkinsonism is a group of movement abnormalities including tremors, unusually slow movement (bradykinesia), rigidity, an inability to hold the body upright and balanced (postural instability), and a shuffling gait that can cause recurrent falls.

Later in life, many affected individuals also develop a pattern of involuntary, sustained muscle contractions known as dystonia. The dystonia associated with X-linked dystonia-parkinsonism typically starts in one area, most often the eyes, jaw, or neck, and later spreads to other parts of the body. The continuous muscle cramping and spasms can be disabling. Depending on which muscles are affected, widespread (generalized) dystonia can cause difficulty with speaking, swallowing, coordination, and walking.

The signs and symptoms of X-linked dystonia-parkinsonism vary widely. In the mildest cases, affected individuals have slowly progressive parkinsonism with little or no dystonia. More severe cases involve dystonia that rapidly becomes generalized. These individuals become dependent on others for care within a few years after signs and symptoms appear, and they may die prematurely from breathing difficulties, infections (such as aspiration pneumonia), or other complications.