Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition that affects people from all walks of life. It is quite common, with approximately 80,000 Australians and 27,000 Victorians living with the condition.
The average age of diagnosis is 65 years, however younger people can be diagnosed with Parkinson’s too.
It is not easy to diagnose Parkinson’s. 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.
What causes Parkinson’s?
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.
Parkinson’s is categorised by clinicians as a “movement disorder.” However it doesn’t just affect movement. Non-motor symptoms such as pain, depression and problems with memory and sleep can also occur and have an impact on the day-to-day life of those living with Parkinson’s.
Progression of Parkinson’s
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 is not fatal and it is possible to live with the condition for many years, although symptoms may worsen over time.
There is currently no known cure for Parkinson's. However, 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.
Developing a strong Australian research agenda is central to Parkinson’s Victoria’s mission. We are committed to supporting vital research that improves quality of life for people with the condition, and the search for a cure.
How can you help?
By supporting the #UniteforParkinsons campaign, you will help to continue funding for ground-breaking research into diagnosis, improved treatment and a cure for Parkinson’s.
Have you visited our main website?
For information about Parkinson’s, Parkinson’s Victoria and other ways to get involved, please visit parkinsonsvic.org.au
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