Newbury and District Branch

 

About Parkinson's

 

What is Parkinson’s?

Parkinson's is a progressive neurological condition. This means that it causes problems in the brain and symptoms can get worse over time.

 

People with Parkinson’s don’t have enough of a chemical called dopamine because some nerve cells in their brain have died. Without dopamine people can find that their movements become slower so it takes longer to do things. The loss of nerve cells in the brain causes the symptoms of Parkinson’s to appear.

 

There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s and we don’t yet know why people develop the condition.

 

How many people have Parkinson’s?

One person in every 350 has Parkinson’s. That’s about 145,000 people in the UK. Most people who get Parkinson’s are aged 50 or over but younger people can develop it too.

 

What are the symptoms?

The 3 main symptoms of Parkinson's disease affect physical movement:

  • tremor – shaking, which usually begins in the hand or arm and is more likely to occur when the limb is relaxed and resting
  • slowness of movement– physical movements are much slower than normal, which can make everyday tasks difficult and result in a distinctive slow, shuffling walk with very small steps
  • muscle stiffness – stiffness and tension in the muscles, which can make it difficult to move around and make facial expressions, and can result in painful muscle cramps

 

The symptoms someone has and how quickly the condition develops will differ from one
person to the next. The symptoms can be controlled using a combination of drugs, therapies and, occasionally, surgery when the symptoms are severe. In recent years it has become clear that EXERCISE can also slow the progression of Parkinson’s.

 

The Parkinson’s UK main website has a wealth of material covering all aspects of Parkinson’s. If you are newly diagnosed or would like more information we suggest you start here: Parkinson’s Information and Support.