Monday, 9 November 2015 5:00:00 PM Australia/Melbourne

Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurological condition that affects people from all walks of life. People who suffer from Parkinson’s generally have difficulty controlling their movements and moving freely and symptons tend to get worse over time.Parkinson's doesn’t just affect movement however – non-motor symptoms such as pain, depression, memory lapse and sleep disorders can also occur, impacting the day to day life of those suffering from this disease.

Now quite a common disease, approximately 80,000 Australians are currently living with Parkinson’s. The average age of diagnosis is 65 years, however younger people can be diagnosed too.

It is not an easy condition to diagnose however. There are no laboratory tests (such as a blood test or brain scan), so it is important that the diagnosis is made by a specialist, such as a neurologist. The specialist will examine for any physical signs of Parkinson’s and take a detailed history of symptoms.

Currently there is no known cause of understanding of why a person develops Parkinson’s. There are many theories as to the causes and it is generally thought that multiple factors are responsible. Through research, our understanding of the possible causes of Parkinson’s is increasing all of the time.

The underlying cause of Parkinson’s symptoms relates to a decline in the production of a brain chemical called dopamine. Many of the cells which produce dopamine are in the Basal Ganglia located in the middle of the brain. This lack of dopamine means people can have difficulty controlling their movements and moving freely.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s develop slowly and gradually progress over time. Each person is affected differently and the rate of progression varies greatly between individuals. Parkinson’s doesn’t directly cause people to die and it is possible to live with Parkinson’s for a long time, although symptoms do get worse over time.

While there is currently no known cure, there are many treatments available that can allow a person with Parkinson’s to lead a fulfilling and productive life. Treatments can assist in managing your symptoms and providing a high quality of life for many years to come. There are also a great range of products around to help make day to day lie that little bit easier. Be sure to learn more about the types of products available.

Parkinson’s State Organisations are available throughout Australia to support people living with Parkinson’s from recently diagnosed through to advanced Parkinson’s, along with family, carers and health professionals.

 

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