What is Parkinson's?

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition that affects people from all walks of life. It is quite common, with approximately 80,000 Australians living with Parkinson’s.

The average age of diagnosis is 65 years, however younger people can be diagnosed with Parkinson’s too. This is referred to as Young Onset Parkinson’s.

It is not easy to diagnose Parkinson’s. There are no laboratory tests (such as a blood test or brain scan), so it is important that the diagnosis is made by a specialist, such as a neurologist. The specialist will examine for any physical signs of Parkinson’s and take a detailed history of symptoms.

For information and support please contact your State Parkinson’s organisation by clicking on the state link on the top right hand corner of this website.

What causes Parkinson’s?

Currently there is no known cause of understanding of why a person develops Parkinson’s. There are many theories as to the causes and it is generally thought that multiple factors are responsible.

Through research, our understanding of the possible causes of Parkinson’s is increasing all of the time.

What causes Parkinson’s symptoms?

The underlying cause of Parkinson’s symptoms relates to a decline in the production of a brain chemical called dopamine. Many of the cells which produce dopamine are in the Basal Ganglia located in the middle of the brain. This lack of dopamine means people can have difficulty controlling their movements and moving freely.

Symptoms

Parkinson’s is categorised by clinicians as a “movement disorder.”  However it doesn’t just affect movement. Non-motor symptoms such as pain, depression and problems with memory and sleep can also occur and have an impact on the day to day life of the person with Parkinson’s.

Progression of Parkinson’s

Symptoms of Parkinson’s develop slowly and gradually progress over time. Each person is affected differently and the rate of progression varies greatly between individuals.

Parkinson’s doesn’t directly cause people to die and it is possible to live with Parkinson’s for a long time, although symptoms do get worse over time.

Treatments

There is currently no known cure. However, there are many treatments available that can allow a person with Parkinson’s to lead a fulfilling and productive life. Treatments can assist in managing your symptoms and providing a high quality of life for many years to come. 

Support for people with Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s State Organisations are available throughout Australia to support people living with Parkinson’s from recently diagnosed through to advanced Parkinson’s, along with family, carers and health professionals.

You are not alone – we are in this together.

Information Sheets

1.1 - Description, Incidence and Theories of Causation 1.1 - Description, Incidence and Theories of Causation (379 KB)

1.2 - Parkinson's Symptoms 1.2 - Parkinson's Symptoms (419 KB)

1.3 - Diagnosis of Parkinson's 1.3 - Diagnosis of Parkinson's (377 KB)

1.4 - Medical Options for Parkinson's 1.4 - Medical Options for Parkinson's (446 KB)

1.5 - Surgery for Parkinson's 1.5 - Surgery for Parkinson's (378 KB)

1.6 - Parkinson's Plus 1.6 - Parkinson's Plus (433 KB)

1.7 - MPTP and Drug Induced Parkinson's 1.7 - MPTP and Drug Induced Parkinson's (362 KB)

2.1 - Communication and Parkinson's 2.1 - Communication and Parkinson's (396 KB)

2.10 - Dementia and Parkinson's 2.10 - Dementia and Parkinson's (354 KB)

2.12 - Employment and Parkinson's 2.12 - Employment and Parkinson's (398 KB)

2.13 - Employees with Parkinson's 2.13 - Employees with Parkinson's (369 KB)

2.14 - Constipation and Parkinson's 2.14 - Constipation and Parkinson's (713 KB)

2.15 - Pain and Parkinson's 2.15 - Pain and Parkinson's (338 KB)

2.16 Bladder Control and Parkinson's 2.16 Bladder Control and Parkinson's (558 KB)

2.2 - Swallowing and Parkinson's 2.2 - Swallowing and Parkinson's (353 KB)

2.4 - Oral Health and Parkinson's 2.4 - Oral Health and Parkinson's (379 KB)

2.5 - Relationships and Parkinson's 2.5 - Relationships and Parkinson's (441 KB)

2.6 - Vision and Parkinson's 2.6 - Vision and Parkinson's (372 KB)

2.7 - Sleep and Parkinson's 2.7 - Sleep and Parkinson's (391 KB)

2.8 - Mobility and Parkinson's 2.8 - Mobility and Parkinson's (457 KB)

2.9 - Impulse Control Disorder and Parkinson's 2.9 - Impulse Control Disorder and Parkinson's (371 KB)

3.1 - Glossary of Terms 3.1 - Glossary of Terms (543 KB)