facts about parkinson's disease

10 Little Known Facts about Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease affects millions of people all over the world – young and old alike. This neurological condition adversely affects how many of us act and function in even the most simple of ways. While the world is waking up a little more to the condition thanks to awareness campaigns on behalf of high-profile sufferers such as Michael J. Fox, there’s still much for us to learn. Here are some important facts about Parkinson’s Disease to help you start.

1. What is Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that primarily affects the motor system. That means, essentially, it is a condition affecting the brain over several years – the brain takes damage gradually as the sufferer ages.

2. What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s disease can be characterized by multiple symptoms. These include tremors, stiffness, slowness of movement, and impaired balance and coordination. Many people with the condition also experience depression, insomnia, and memory problems.

3. What causes Parkinson’s disease?

The condition is thought to be caused by the loss of dopamine in the brain, particularly concentrated in an area called the substantia nigra. Specifically, Parkinson’s disease emerges as cells producing dopamine in the brain deplete.

facts about parkinson's disease

4. When can you be affected by Parkinson’s disease?

The average age of onset for people experiencing Parkinson’s disease is around 60 years old. That being said, it can occur earlier in some cases, known as early-onset Parkinson’s. It’s thought that up to 10% of people diagnosed with the condition will receive their diagnosis before the age of 50. It’s rare, but not impossible.

5. There are other signs of Parkinson’s to consider.

Although we tend to focus on motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, non-motor are also common. These can include cognitive impairment, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and gastrointestinal issues.

6. Is there a cure in sight?

Sadly, currently, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease at the time of writing. However, various treatments are available to manage symptoms and improve the quality of life for those who suffer from it. And it is important to remember that research is ongoing on the disease.

7. Medications, however, are available.

There are common medications available to sufferers used to manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. These include levodopa, dopamine agonists, and MAO-B inhibitors, as they can help alleviate motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

8. What is DBS, and can it help with Parkinson’s disease?

In some advanced cases of Parkinson’s disease, deep brain stimulation (otherwise known as DBS) may be a surgical treatment option worth pursuing. DBS involves implanting electrodes in the brain to help regulate abnormal brain activity.

Deep brain stimulation

9. Keeping healthy makes a lot of difference.

Believe it or not, regular exercise and physical therapy can play crucial roles in managing Parkinson’s disease. They can help improve mobility, balance, and overall physical fitness. Of course, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important for everyone, but for those suffering from Parkinson’s disease, it can make all the difference in managing the pain and the symptoms!

10. Sadly, it’s progressive.

Parkinson’s disease is known as a progressive condition. This means that symptoms typically worsen over time. However, the rate of progression can vary from person to person.

facts about parkinson's disease

FAQs about Parkinson’s Disease

What is the life expectancy for Parkinson’s disease?

Generally speaking, it is believed that patients with Parkinson’s disease can live between 10 and 20 years after being diagnosed. However, it is important to remember that research is ongoing to help improve the possibilities for those with Parkinson’s, and lifestyle choices play a huge role in life expectancy with and without the disease!

How fast does Parkinson’s disease progress?

In most cases, Parkinson’s disease progresses fairly slowly. The symptoms can progress and change over the course of months and even years. However, it is important to note that things can be done to help with the symptoms, such as regularly exercising and prioritizing a healthy lifestyle.

Can you have Parkinson’s without knowing?

In some cases, patients have gone years without being diagnosed with Parkinson’s! This is usually because the symptoms were not obvious enough to make the patients go to the doctor, or for a diagnosis to even be required.

Further reading:

Do you know any fun facts about Parkinson’s Disease? Share them in the comments below!

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This page was last modified on March 13, 2024. Suggest an edit