Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s is a movement and mood disorder typically presenting with symptoms such as slowness of movement, muscle rigidity, instability, tremor, depression and anxiety.

The number of people living with Parkinson’s in Australia may range from 84,000 to 212,000 (0.85% of population)*.

A diagnosis can occur at any age with the most common age of diagnosis being 65.

10% of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s are under the age of 45.

18% of people living with Parkinson’s are of working age i.e under 65 (this includes people diagnosed under 45).

Currently there is no known cause for the development of Parkinson’s, however it is thought that a combination of the following may play a role:

  • Genetics (heridity)
  • Ageing
  • Infections
  • Environmental factors
  • Pesticides & Toxins
  • Drugs/Medications

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.

 

*Low end estimate comes from 2015 study by Deloitte Access Economics. The high end estimate comes from 2018 research by a joint team from University of Melbourne and Monash University (Ayton, D., Ayton, S., Barker, AL., Bush, AI and Warren, N. (2018). Parkinson’s disease prevalence and the association with rurality and agricultural determinants. Parkinsonism & Related Disorders).

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