Every hour, someone in the UK is told they have Parkinson’s.
What is Parkinson’s?
The NHS describes Parkinson’s as a condition where part of the brain (substantia nigra) becomes progressively damaged. It is caused by a loss of nerve cells in the substantia nigra, which leads to a reduction in dopamine in the brain.
This reduction in dopamine is the reason for the main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease:
- Slow movement
- Stiff and inflexible muscles
Other symptoms include depression, insomnia and memory problems.
The exact cause for this loss of nerve cells is still unclear, but most experts think both genetic and environmental factors are responsible.
Who is affected?
In the UK, around 1 in 500 people are affected by the condition- an estimated 127,000. It is more likely to develop in men rather than women. Most people develop symptoms after the age of 50, but around 1 in 20 people with Parkinson’s first experience them when they are under 40.
Although there is no cure for Parkinson’s, there are treatments to help reduce the main symptoms- maintaining quality of life for as long as possible.
- Occupational therapy
People respond differently to treatments. Some people experience mild to moderate disability, but others may become severely disabled. Thanks to medical advances, most people with Parkinson’s disease now have a normal or near normal life expectancy.
Parkinson’s Awareness Week 2016
Charity, Parkinson’s UK is urging people to get involved this year from 18-24th April. The aim of the week is to get people talking about the condition and what the charity does to help those affected.
They want to show us how a small thing can make a big difference to someone with Parkinson’s, and highlight how they change lives. See how you can get involved on their website here.
Use your head: Friday 22nd April
Parkinson’s UK is asking everyone to get involved by making a donation to wear something on their head for a day. It could be a silly hat, animal ears, a funny wig, or just about anything you can wear on your head.
Help raise awareness and improve the lives of people affected by Parkinson’s, get involved in Use Your Head.
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