Parkinson’s disease is a movement and mood disorder typically presenting with symptoms such as slowness of movement, muscle rigidity, instability, tremor, depression and anxiety.
There are estimated to be some 80,000 Australians living with Parkinson’s disease. A diagnosis can occur at any age with the most common age of diagnosis being 65. 20% of those diagnosed are under the age of 50. 10% before the age of 40.
Currently there is no know cause for the development of Parkinson’s, however it is thought that a combination of the following may play a role:
- Genetics (heridity)
- Environmental factors
- Pesticides & Toxins
We understand that the neurones in a particular area of the brain known as the substantia nigra are damaged or lost. This results in a reduction in dopamine, a powerful brain chemical that assists in coordinating movement.
There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but there are effective treatment and therapy options that can help manage symptoms, so people with Parkinson’s disease can continue to enjoy many years of independent and productive lives.
There is still much to learn about what causes Parkinson’s disease, but research is ongoing and there is every hope that outcomes for people with Parkinson’s disease will continue to improve and that ultimately there will be a cure. In the meantime, community organisations like Parkinson’s NSW will continue to offer information, education, counselling, advocacy and support.
Report by Access Economics Pty Limited for Parkinson’s Australia