Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, neurological disorder, which is treated mainly with drug therapy. It can affect all activities of a person’s life, including talking, walking, swallowing, and writing. It occurs when cells in the part of the brain that controls movement are lost. These cells produce dopamine, a chemical messenger that enables people to perform smooth co-ordinated movements.

It is not known why the cells that produce dopamine die. Once 80% of these cells have been destroyed the symptoms of Parkinson’s will occur. Symptoms include shaking, muscle stiffness, and slowness of movement. There is no known cure.

Approximately 120,000 people in the UK have Parkinson’s, one in 500 of the general population. This increases to one person in 100 over the age of 65 and one in 50 over the age of 80.

10,000 people are diagnosed each year. Most people are diagnosed over the age of 60, but it is estimated that one in 20 are under 40 when diagnosed.

Each person with Parkinson’s is different, and the ability to perform movements may differ from one day to the next. Parkinson’s has a dramatic effect on a person’s quality of life. It can affect everything they do, from getting out of bed in the morning to hugging and kissing a partner, or even being able to smile at them.

Drug treatment for Parkinson’s, to restore the level of dopamine in the brain, is very effective initially. In the long-term drug treatment results in severe side effects, which can include confusion, hallucinations, and fluctuations in the ability to perform movements.

Much more work is needed to help improve the treatment offered to people with Parkinson’s.

[boxibt style=”success”]Information Courtesy of:
Parkinson’s Disease Society (PDS)
215 Vauxhall Bridge Road
NATIONAL PARKINSON’S FREEPHONE HELPLINE: 0808 800 0303 Monday to Friday 9.30am-5.30pm
email :
Tel: 020 7931 8080
Fax: 020 723 39908

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