WHAT IS PARKINSON'S
Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition that can affect anyone. Parkinson's is the second most common neurological condition and latest research estimates indicates that more than 100,000 Australians are living with Parkinson's. Parkinson's is a complex condition with a wide variety of symptoms. Symptoms start to appear when the brain can't make enough dopamine to control movement properly.
The three main, and commonly recognised syptoms are tremor, slowness of movement and rigidity. There are many other symptoms and researchers are working hard to understand how these all interact.
The average age of diagnosis is 65 years. Younger people are also diagnosed with Parkinson’s and this is called Young Onset Parkinson’s. Around 20% of people living with Parkinson's are of working age.
People with Parkinson's don't have enough of the chemical dopamine because some of the cells that produce dopamine have died.
It is not easy to diagnose Parkinson’s. There are no laboratory tests (such as a blood test or brain scan). Often a diagnosis is made by a specialist, such as a neurologist based on clinical signs and symptoms. The specialist will examine for any physical signs of Parkinson’s and take a detailed history of symptoms.
WHAT CAUSES PARKINSON'S
We don't know why people get Parkinson's. There are many theories, and it is generally thought that multiple factors are responsible. Possible causes or contributing factors may include genetic changes, environment factors, oxidative stress or a combination of these.
Through research, our understanding of the possible causes of Parkinson’s is increasing all of the time.
Parkinson’s is categorized by clinicians as a “movement disorder” and symptoms may include muscle rigidity, tremor, postural instability and bradykinesia (slowness of movement). Many people think of tremor in Parkinson's but in around 30% of cases tremor is not present.
Parkinson's doesn’t just affect movement. Non-motor symptoms such as pain, sensory changes, changes in the gastrointestinal system, depression and problems with memory, thinking 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
Every person is unique and each person is affected differently by Parkinson's. Every Parkinson's patient is different and will have a different combination of symptoms and different levels of progression. How Parkinson's can effect someone will change from day to day, sometimes from hour to hour. However most peoples life expectancy doesn't change much because of Parkinson's.
Your journey will be different to many others, and share some common things too. Many people with Parkinson's lead active lives and one of the most important parts of managing with Parkinson's is learning how it affects you and how to manage your life with it.
Keeping a positive outlook, especially as the condition changes, is vitally important, if not always easy.
WORKING WITH YOUR HEALTHCARE TEAM
There are lots of different treatments, therapies and supports available to help manage the condition.
Information provided on this website will help you navigate your journey. It is important to remember to discuss any issues or concerns you have about your Parkinson's with the doctors and other health professional who support and care for you.
You are not alone – we are in this together.
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.