From a tremor and balance issues to trouble sleeping and anxiety, Parkinson’s disease (PD) can impact many parts of life. PD is a disorder that affects the brain cells that produce dopamine. When the brain cannot produce enough dopamine, symptoms can appear. Knowing key information about PD can help you or a loved one live well with this disease.
The Parkinson’s Foundation highlights seven key facts about PD:
- More people are being diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
As our population ages, the rate of people being diagnosed with PD will continue to rise. Every year, 90,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with PD. The number of people living with PD is expected to rise to 1.2 million by 2030. Because Black people with PD have been historically excluded from and have had little access to PD research opportunities, there is no current estimate of how many Black people are living with PD in the U.S.
- There are 10 early signs of Parkinson’s.
A tremor while at rest is a common early sign of PD. Less commonly known early signs can include loss of smell, trouble sleeping, and constipation. When you or a loved one experiences an early sign of PD, speak to your primary care physician and discuss seeing a specialist. View all early signs now.
- Black people with Parkinson’s are often diagnosed at a later disease stage than white people.
Research shows that Black people with PD are diagnosed at a later disease stage than white people and are less likely to be diagnosed compared to other racial and ethnic groups. This may be due to Black patients being negatively affected by health disparities, not having reasonable access to specialized care, and other health and economic barriers that interfere with care access. Although these factors can negatively influence one’s health and quality of life, there are steps you can take to advocate for yourself to live a better life with PD today. When you notice an early sign of PD, speak to your doctor and ask for a referral to see a movement disorder specialist (a neurologist that specializes in movement disorders like PD).
- 50% of people with Parkinson’s will experience some form of depression.
While movement symptoms such as a tremor and issues with balance are the most well-known, PD can include a wide range of non-movement symptoms including depression, anxiety and sleep disorders. It is important to address mental health when it comes to PD.
- Parkinson’s can be treated and managed.
While there is no cure, there are medications and various treatments that help people with PD. Exercise helps maintain balance and mobility. Parkinson’s Foundation research shows that people with PD who start exercising earlier and a minimum of 2.5 hours a week, experience a slowed decline in quality of life compared to those who start later.
- People in the Black community are often less likely to see a PD specialist.
Neurologists and movement disorders specialists have experience in treating PD at every stage. It is important to find a neurologist and care team you trust. Consider asking your spouse or family member to attend doctors’ appointments with you. They can assist you in communicating, taking notes and offering support as you built trust with your PD doctor. Learn more about how to build your care team.
- Diversity in Parkinson’s research can help speed up new treatments and help find a cure.
Research is vital to helping us better understand PD and will one day lead to a cure.
Diversity in research is essential to setting the foundation to find new treatments. Studying health disparities, conducting more targeted and inclusive research, and more accurately diagnosing PD in the Black community will help us learn more.The Parkinson’s Foundation study PD GENEration: Mapping the Future of Parkinson’s Disease is dedicated to figuring out how gene changes cause PD in different people. This study is bringing a new level of inclusiveness and depth to PD genetic research, which can lead to greater insights.
Resources That Work for You
The Parkinson’s Foundation is here for everyone living with and caring for someone with PD. Utilize their resources, such as the Newly Diagnosed kit and local events that help people with PD and care partners. Get empowered through the Foundation’s free PD Library — an extensive collection of educational tools. For more information visit Parkinson.org.
The Parkinson’s Foundation is here to help. Contact the Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (1-800-473-4636) or Helpline@Parkinson.org for answers to your PD questions, referrals, and personalized resources.
Leave a Reply