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Understanding Parkinson's

10 facts about Parkinson

What you need to know...

What does this mean for me?

Parkinson’s is a complex disease that affects many aspects of life. It is hard to rate the severity of PD using scales since the condition looks differently for everyone living with it.
Also, people may feel differently about different symptoms. Some people living with PD might feel strongly about problems walking while others might feel strongly about difficulty speaking.
The stage of your disease cannot also predict your lifespan or how it will progress in the future. The various staging systems were developed to provide experts and those living with the disease with a clear way to discuss symptoms. It also assists researchers in determining which treatments are effective for which symptoms.

My father and I both have Parkinson's but we share no common symptoms
''There is no person with Parkinson's who looks like another. Not even if they are father and daughter!"

Did you know that my father was diagnosed with Parkinson's at 74, while I was diagnosed at 28?

Parkinson in numbers

Key numbers about Parkinson disease
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Parkinson symptoms


Symptoms that confirm a Parkinson disease diagnosis


Although there is no cure for Parkinson's disease, neurologists can advise patients on a variety of medications, surgeries, and/or therapies to alleviate symptoms.

Medication The most commonly used Parkinson's disease medications are designed to help maintain, replenish, or mimic dopamine and other chemicals in the brain: Levodopa replenishes the brain's declining dopamine supply. Carbidopa is used in conjunction with levodopa (e.g., Sinemet) to help reduce levodopa side effects such as nausea, low blood pressure, and restlessness. Dopamine Agonists are substances that mimic the effects of dopamine. They can be used to postpone the start of levodopa or in addition to it. Amantadine can increase dopamine levels in the brain that are already present. Anticholinergic medications are prescribed to help reduce tremor. Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors inhibit enzymes that break down dopamine, extending its action in the brain. Monoamine Oxidase (MAO) B Inhibitors also inhibit an enzyme that degrades dopamine, allowing it to function for a longer period of time. Adenosine Receptor Antagonists may keep muscles functioning normally during "off" periods when patients are taking levodopa/carbidopa. ​ It can take time to find the right combination of Parkinson's medications that works best with the fewest side effects, which can include nausea, low blood pressure, dizziness, constipation, insomnia, hallucinations, and dyskinesia (uncontrolled body movements). Your doctor may prescribe additional medications to alleviate some of these side effects or to treat the non-motor symptoms that are common in Parkinson's disease.

Deep Brain Stimulation This is a surgical procedure that places thin metal wires in the brain and programmes them to send electrical pulses that help control motor symptoms. It is typically reserved for those who do not respond well enough to medication. In general, it is considered for patients who have had Parkinson's disease for four years or more, and it is not recommended for patients with dementia.

Sports and Workouts Walking, non-contact boxing, biking, yoga, and tai chi have all been shown to improve balance, motor control, and strength in Parkinson's disease patients. Physical and occupational therapy can also help with gait, flexibility, speech, and the ability to perform daily tasks like eating and dressing.

Therapies A variety of therapies are available to help people with Parkinson's disease manage their symptoms. Therapists are trained to advise and recommend exercises and treatments that will keep you active and healthy. Your primary care physician, specialist, or Parkinson's nurse may be able to refer you to a therapist: • A physiotherapist can assist you with posture and mobility issues. Learn more about physiotherapy. • A speech and language therapist can assist you with swallowing issues as well as any issues with your speech or writing. Learn more about speech and language therapy here. • An occupational therapist can assist you with daily tasks such as moving around your home if they become difficult. Learn more about occupational therapy. Different therapies will appeal to different people, so experiment to see what works best for you. However, make sure you speak to your GP, your specialist or your Parkinson’s nurse before you start any type of therapy.

Conditions that look like Parkinson

There are several conditions that closely resemble Parkinson's disease, including:

• Essential tremor: Essential tremor is an action tremor, which means that the shaking worsens when you move or try to use your hands. Tremors occur primarily at rest in Parkinson's disease, and activity alleviates symptoms.

• Hydrocephalus with normal pressure: This condition, which is more common in older people, occurs when there is an excess of fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The classic symptoms are an unsteady gait, memory and thinking problems, and urinary incontinence.

• Dementia with Lewy bodies: Symptoms seen early in Parkinson's disease can also appear in the late stages of dementia with Lewy bodies, a disease that causes problems with mood, thinking, and movement and is characterized by abnormal protein deposits in the brain called Lewy bodies.

• Atrophy of multiple systems: Multiple system atrophy is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the death of various types of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Slowness of movement, tremor, stiffness, and impaired speech are all symptoms.

• Corticobasal syndrome (CBS): CBS is a disorder that affects either movement or language. Although the cause is unknown, some CBS patients have a buildup of tau in their brains similar to Alzheimer's disease patients.

• Progression of Supranuclear Palsy: This uncommon condition, which affects nerve cells in the brain, can result in loss of balance, vision problems, unexplained falls, and stiffness.

Stages of Parkinson Disease

Everyone is affected differently by PD. It can progress at various rates, and people may experience some symptoms but not others. Experts classified Parkinson's disease into 5 stages based on motor symptoms in order to better understand and treat the disease: wheelchair-bound or bed-bound.

  • Stage 1 - This is the most basic stage, which includes mild tremors and walking difficulties. It only affects one side of the body. Family members may also notice fewer facial expressions. These symptoms do not significantly interfere with daily life.

  • Stage 2 - During this stage, symptoms worsen. Both sides of the body are now affected by tremors and difficulty moving. Daily tasks are more difficult, but they can still be completed on your own.

  • Stage 3 - Balance and coordination are now compromised. Falls are a major source of concern. Some tasks, such as dressing and feeding, require assistance.

  • Stage 4 - Tasks become extremely difficult. Walking aids may be required. Living alone can be difficult because most tasks require assistance.

  • Stage 5 – This is the most severe stage. Even with assistance, standing and walking may be difficult. People are most likely wheelchair-bound or bed-bound.

What Are the Mortality Rates for Parkinson's Disease?

Parkinson's disease is not fatal, but it can be disabling in its advanced stages. Some people are at a higher risk of death as a result of Parkinson's disease, but this is not true for everyone. Many people with the disease have a normal life expectancy.


People with advanced Parkinson's disease may develop Parkinson's dementia, a type of cognitive impairment. Furthermore, people with Parkinson's disease can develop other types of dementia, such as Alzheimer's. In Parkinson's disease, cognitive impairment is a risk factor for death.


Is Parkinson's disease fatal?

Parkinson's disease is not a sentence to death. It can have a significant impact on a person's quality of life, but with proper treatment and management, many people with the disease can live full and happy lives.

When is Parkinson's disease diagnosed?

The average age of diagnosis is around 60 years old, but people as young as their 30s and 40s can be diagnosed. Typically, a person with early signs of Parkinson's disease will need to undergo certain tests to determine whether their symptoms are caused by Parkinson's disease.

How common is Parkinson's disease?

Parkinson's disease is the world's second most common neurodegenerative disorder. The disease affects approximately 0.5-1% of people aged 65-69 and 1-3% of people aged 80 and older. According to research, those figures are expected to rise by 30% over the next decade as the population ages.

What is the treatment for Parkinson's disease?

In general, medications that provide more dopamine or mimic the action of dopamine help to improve symptoms for a few hours at a time. These treatments are more effective in the early stages of the disease. As the disease worsens, a higher dose is frequently required to achieve the same effect, and medication side effects worsen.

Is Parkinsonism synonymous with Parkinson's disease?

Parkinsonism is not synonymous with Parkinson's disease. Parkinsonism is a movement disorder with some of the same symptoms as Parkinson's disease, particularly tremors and stiffness. Parkinsonism can be caused by medications, head trauma, or a stroke, and it usually does not progress in the same way that Parkinson's disease does.

Does ALS resemble Parkinson's disease?

Many people may confuse amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) with Parkinson's disease because they are both well-known neurological diseases. The two conditions, however, are not the same. ALS causes progressive muscle paralysis, and it is fatal within a few years of diagnosis.

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