Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition, which is characterised by both motor (movement) and non-motor symptoms.
It is estimated to affect approximately 6.3 million people worldwide. It is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder.
Parkinson’s Disease in Australia
In Australia, an estimated 1 in 350 people have the condition, and more than 30 people are diagnosed daily.
- Parkinson’s is slightly more common in males than females.
- The most most common age range for diagnosis is 55 – 65 years.
- While the risk of contracting the condition increases with age, it is not part of the natural aging process.
- People diagnosed between 21-40 years are considered to have ‘Young Onset Parkinson’s’ and those younger than 21 have ‘Juvenile Onset.’
There is no definitive medical test (blood test or scan) to diagnose Parkinson’s but there are usually four primary symptoms:
- Bradykinesia (slowness of voluntary movement)
- Muscle rigidity
- Postural instability.
Most patients will visit their general practitioner as they become aware of the development of symptoms and are often referred to a neurologist or geriatrician.
Parkinson’s disease is primarily related to a lack of dopamine. This is usually due to degeneration of dopamine producing neurons within the mid-brain.
Most pharmaceutical treatment options for Parkinson’s disease attempt to restore the balance of dopamine and other neurotransmitters.
Medication needs change as Parkinson’s progresses and it important to be reviewed regularly by the medical team of GPs and specialist for dose adjustments.
For more information about Parkinson’s Disease visit Parkinson’s Australia or speak to your GP.