PARKINSON’S disease is a degenerative condition which occurs when nerves in the brain die. While some of the symptoms, including a tremor are more obvious, symptoms of the condition can go undetected.
Parkinson’s disease affects the central nervous system.
There is no cure for the disease, but scientists are revealing new drugs and therapy which can help reduce the impact and slow decline caused by the condition.
Parkinson’s disease affects one in every 500 people – about 127,000 people in the UK.
It most commonly occurs in people over the age of 50.
People with Parkinson’s disease do not have enough of a chemical called dopamine which functions as a neurotransmitter — a chemical released by neurons (nerve cells) to send signals to other nerve cells.
There are three main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and a diagnosis of the condition is more likely if people have two of the the first three conditions.
Developing a tremor – or shaking which usually begins in the hand or arm. This is most likely to occur when the limbs are relaxed
Slowness of movement – this is also called bradykinesia, which means physical movements are much slower than normal, which can make everyday tasks difficult and can mean people have to walk slowly, taking smaller steps. People can also develop balance problems, which makes it more likely for people to fall.
Parkinson’s disease: People with symptoms should discuss them with a GP
Other symptoms can include:
Incontinence – problems with urination including having to get up frequently during the night or passing urine unintentionally can be an indicator of the condition. People can also become constipated.
Erectile dysfunction – Parkinson’s disease can cause erectile dysfunction – the inability to get or maintain an erection in men. The condition can also cause sexual dysfunction in women.
Parkinson’s disease can also cause other physical symptoms including insomnia, dizziness, nerve pain, and loss of a sense of smell.
It can also cause depression and annuity, cognitive impairment and dementia – a collection of symptoms including memory loss and personality changes.
Parkinson’s disease: Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include a tremor
Parkinson’s UK, said: “It is important you discuss any new symptoms, problems or side effects you experience with your doctor or nurse, who can give you advice on how to manage them.”
Last year, a survey by Parkinson’s UK survey found that 37 per cent of people with the disease felt like they had to hide their symptoms or needed to lie about having the condition at all.
Nearly two thirds of people who reported hiding their symptoms said that they did not want to make others feel awkward around them.
About a third of them felt like they would be judged for having the disease and a third felt like their symptoms were not socially acceptable.
Parkinson’s UK chief executive Steve Ford said: “Too many people are struggling with their diagnosis alone because of fear of what people might think, say or do.
“It’s worrying that many people with Parkinson’s, for a wide range of reasons, are not able to access the help they need – and it’s having a devastating impact on their emotional health.”
Parkinson’s disease sufferers could face a bleak future, without more research, Parkinson’s UK claimed.