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A Primer On Parkinsons Disease Percentages

The first time Parkinson's disease was recognized as a real condition was back in 1817. English physician Dr. James Parkinson noticed that this particular condition was distinguished by four primary signs limb tremors (even during times of rest), stiffness of the trunk of the body as well as the limbs, sluggish movements and problems with balance. Up until then, patients with these signs of the disease were given a general palsy diagnosis and there was really no treatment that helped at the time. It was not until the 1950s that doctors and researchers discovered the cause behind the tremors and other symptoms a lack of dopamine being produced by the neurons in the substantia nigra inside the brain.

While recognized as a problem since ancient times (many old documents describe palsy-like problems), it was not until Dr. Parkinson wrote a paper about it that the scientific community started to take notice. From there, more and more patients were recognized as having Parkinson's disease, the name given to the condition by a noted neurologist Jean Martin Charcot sixty years after it was first officially recognized.

Recognizing the Condition

Most people realize something is wrong with they develop at least two of the four main symptoms of heart disease. In addition, the symptoms may only occur at first on one half of the body and could start with an arm or a leg tremoring uncontrollably even when the limb is at rest. Sometimes, a task that normally takes no time at all to perform takes longer because movement is slower. Slowly developing balance problems can creep up and someone might wonder why they are running into doorframes or tripping on the sidewalk. Eventually, the tremor or balance problem is joined by other symptoms until there is no doubt that Parkinson's disease could be the cause.

In addition to the tremors, balance problems, slow movements and rigidity, facial problems may also occur. People with the disease may develop an unblinking stare or look emotionless. Certain body parts like a shoulder are common as is a leg or foot causing a person to look like they are dragging their feet. When Parkinson's disease creeps up on older people, a number of the symptoms are laughed off as age related problems and figure it is the price of getting older. Sometimes, the rigidity and stiffness of the body is misinterpreted as arthritis and slow movements are just accepted as a part of growing old.

Posture becomes a problem in Parkinson's disease patients as well. The stooped or hunched over look is reminiscent of osteoporosis. Tremors or shakiness is attributed to fluctuating blood sugar levels. It takes usually more than a year for most patients to finally see a doctor about their motley collection of problems. For people younger than 50, it could take twice as long.

The Statistics

One percent of the population of 60 years of age or 1 in 100 people has Parkinson's disease. The average age of someone diagnosed is 60 years as well. However, younger cases are diagnosed every day up to 10 percent of all patients each year are at least 40 years old or younger. Of course, this is not including a number of cases that might be misdiagnosed as well. While Parkinson's disease does strike the older population, it can by no means be classified as an old person's disease any longer.

News About Parkinson's Disease

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