About Parkinson's disease
There are a broad range of movement disorders, with Parkinson’s disease being one of the most prevalent. Globally, there are over 6 million people who have Parkinson’s disease. 10% of people who are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease are younger than 50 years.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder of the mid-brain (substantia nigra), the part of the brain that is involved in goal directed movement. People with Parkinson’s have reduced production of dopamine, a chemical ‘messenger’ in the brain that sends messages to the body initiating and facilitating movement.
The main motor (or movement) related symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are bradykinesia, rigidity, tremors, postural instability. Non-movement symptoms may also be experienced such as speech and swallowing difficulties, cognitive impairment or behavioural change and sleep disturbance.
The most common treatment for Parkinson’s disease, levodopa, aims to increase the amount of dopamine in the brain. Treatment doesn’t cure the disease, but can improve symptoms to enable people with Parkinson’s to live independently and enjoy a better quality of life. Parkinson’s disease is a challenging illness and each person may experience different symptoms with varying severity.
Other Movement Disorders include Parkinsonian Tremor, Restless Legs Syndrome, Dystonia, Huntington’s disease, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) and Wilson’s Disease.
For more information and resources on Parkinson’s disease, please contact your local Parkinson’s organisation:
European Parkinson’s Disease Association: http://www.epda.eu.com/
Parkinson’s UK: https://www.parkinsons.org.uk/
National Parkinson Foundation (USA): http://www.parkinson.org/
Parkinson’s Australia: http://www.parkinsons.org.au/