Parkinson’s Disease, by definition, is a progressive neurological condition, characterised by both motor (movement) and non-motor symptoms.
Widely recognised in all cultures, Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, estimated to affect approximately 10 million people worldwide and more than 130,000 Australians.
Parkinson’s is commonly characterised by symptoms that include tremors, muscular stiffness, speech difficulties and loss of balance, but, like many diseases, Parkinson’s can present itself differently in each person.
Unfortunately, identifying the cause for Parkinson’s can be difficult, where in 95% of those diagnosed, the cause remains unknown. However, in the 1960’s, it was discovered that symptoms are primarily related to a lack of neurotransmitter (dopamine) as a result of degeneration of dopamine producing neurons within the substantia nigra in the basal ganglia in the mid brain. Meaning, the mid brain cells of someone who has Parkinson’s disease do not effectively produce and distribute dopamine to the right areas of the brain, causing the symptoms of Parkinson’s. More recently, abnormal deposits of naturally occurring proteins have been found in post-mortem inspections of those who had Parkinson’s disease, highlighting another possible cause.
In light of this, discovering the cause for Parkinson’s remains a topic for worldwide research, with four theories that are commonly explored:
No, there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s. At Parkinson’s Queensland, we advocate for and promote research to find a cure for Parkinson’s.
While there is no cure for Parkinson’s, there are many treatments available that allow a person living with Parkinson’s to live a fulfilling and productive life. Learn more about treatment options here.
Currently, there is no certain known way to prevent Parkinson’s disease. However, there are several treatment options, whether that be drug therapy or surgery that can improve symptoms and make living with Parkinson’s easier.
Similarly to Parkinson’s Disease, the involuntary shaking disease, known as essential tremor, is a movement disorder. While Tremor and Parkinson’s have similar symptoms, the difference is that Tremor is a disease that solely affects the nerves, whereas Parkinson’s is a neurological disease, affecting both the brain and the nerves.
One of the most important things you can do when you feel your Parkinson’s is becoming unmanageable is seek help from your healthcare professional, who can provide you with strategies to strengthen your mental health and improve your quality of life. Parkinson’s Queensland also has a range of helpful resources available that can assist with learning how to better manage Parkinson’s disease.