What is Parkinson’s?
Parkinson’s (also known as Parkinson’s Disease, or PD) is a progressive condition that causes an area of the brain to deteriorate, affecting the nervous system and the parts of the body controlled by the nerves.
People with Parkinson’s don’t have enough of the chemical dopamine in their brain because some of the nerve cells that produce it have died. Dopamine plays a vital role in regulating the movement of the body, so a reduction in dopamine is responsible for many of the physical symptoms of Parkinson’s.
Exactly what causes dopamine-producing nerve cells to die is unclear. Most experts think it is a combination of age, genetic and environmental factors.
People with Parkinson’s usually start to develop symptoms when they’re over 50, but in a small number of cases, people may experience symptoms when they are under 40. Symptoms may take years or even decades to develop and motor symptoms often only become evident later in the course of the condition, after 60-80% of the neurons have already been lost or impaired.
The best-known symptoms of Parkinson’s involve loss of muscle control, balance and movement, however, experts now know that these aren’t the only possible symptoms of Parkinson’s and it can also cause a wide range of other effects on your senses, thinking ability, and mental health.
Although there is currently no cure, medicines, surgical treatment and other therapies can treat the symptoms.
There are several places that you can go to get more information about Parkinson’s, its symptoms, treatment options and advice about living with the condition.
They offer information about any aspect of living with Parkinson’s. This includes advice and support on accessing health services or benefits. They run a helpline Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm, excluding bank holidays, and 10am to 2pm on Saturdays. Call 0808 800 0303.
The NHS provides some additional information about Parkinson’s.
Provides support, information, advice and services for the millions of people caring at home for a family member or friend. Their Network Partners reach carers of all ages and with a range of responsibilities, in their local communities. From helping carers to access local services, to making their views heard by opinion-formers and professionals, together they help carers to connect with everyone and everything that can make a difference to their lives.
Carers Bucks is part of Carers Trust (national network of Carers Centres around the UK). Commissioned by Buckinghamshire County Council, Carers Bucks is a countywide charity offering support to adult carers and young carers. They support the health and wellbeing of unpaid carers and supports unpaid carers of all ages and in different caring roles. These caring roles include young carers, young adult carers and older carers. They provide a number of services for the benefit of carers in Buckinghamshire, including a Caring for Older Carers (75+) service, parent carer training, young adult carers support and a Carers Lounge at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. All services are free to carers.