Approximately one million Americans have Parkinson's disease. More than 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson's disease each year. There is increasing evidence that Parkinson's disease may be inherited. Men after the age of 60 are more likely to develop the disease than women.
Parkinson's disease can't be cured, but medications can help control your symptoms, often dramatically. In some later cases, surgery may be advised. Your doctor also may recommend lifestyle changes, especially ongoing aerobic exercise. In some cases physical therapy that focuses on balance and stretching also is important.
Medications can help you manage problems with walking, movement and tremor by increasing your brain's supply of dopamine. However, dopamine can't be given directly, as it can't enter your brain. You may have significant improvement of your symptoms after beginning Parkinson's disease treatment. Over time, however, the benefits of drugs frequently diminish or become less consistent, although symptoms usually can continue to be fairly well controlled.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) has been classically noted as a disorder of motor control, most commonly including the following symptoms: tremor at rest – shaking, most often seen in the hands; rigidity – stiffness of the muscles on passive movement; Bradykinesia – slowness of movements (including akinesia, lack of movement and hypokinesia, reduced amplitude of movements); Postural Instability – difficulty with balance. Patients will often mention that their handwriting has become smaller and their voice is softer. They may have a less expressive face, a harder time getting in and out of a chair or trouble turning in bed at night.
Most people manage Parkinson's Disease with medication. But in some cases severe symptoms can heavily reduce one's quality of life and sometimes the medication’s side effects are difficult to deal with. In situations like these, a surgical alternative may be sought
If one studies the brains of people with PD after they die, one can see tiny little accumulations of protein called Lewy Bodies (named after the doctor who first found them). Research has shown that there is a large amount of alpha-synuclein protein in the Lewy Bodies of people who have non-inherited PD as well as in the brains of people who have inherited PD. This immediately told us that alpha-synuclein played an important role in all forms of PD and we are still doing a lot of research to better understand this role.
Several mutations that contribute to the pathology of Parkinson's Disease have been identified. Genetic testing allows for genetic counseling where couples can find out if they are carriers of the mutated genes and, therefore, how likely they are to pass them on to their children.
When someone who is 21-40 years old receives a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, it is referred to as "young onset" Parkinson's disease. Although most symptoms are the same at whatever age PD develops, managing the disease can be particularly challenging for a younger person and the person's family medically, psychologically and socially.
In general, young people tend to have a smoother course of the illness. Overall, the rate of the disease's progression is usually much slower in younger than older people, which may be due in part to the fact that younger people tend to have fewer general health problems. Associated problems such as memory loss, confusion and balance difficulties also tend to be less frequent in young people with the disease.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurological condition that typically causes tremor and/or stiffness in movement. The condition affects about 1 to 2 percent of people over the age of 60 years and the chance of developing PD increases as we age. Most people affected with PD are not aware of any relatives with the condition but in a number of families, there is a family history.