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Parkinson’s disease

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Key Facts

  • Around 6.3 million people worldwide have PD, with no differentiation for race or culture;
  • Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic and progressive neurological disorder;
  • Individuals with PD experience difficulties with movement including shaking, stiffness, slow movements and problems with balance;
  • There is no cure for PD, and at present, no disease modifying therapies – current treatment focuses on symptom management.

 What is Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic and progressive neurological disorder which at present has no known cure. The main symptoms are tremor, rigidity (stiffness), slow movements (bradykinesia) and balance difficulties (postural instability). In most cases the cause is unknown and is therefore referred to as ‘sporadic’ or ‘idiopathic’ PD. There are other neurodegenerative disorders sometimes referred to as Parkinson plus or atypical parkinsonian syndromes.

The scale of the problem

Worldwide, it is estimated that 6.3 million people have PD with no differentiation for race and culture. The age of onset is usually over 60, but it is estimated that one in ten are diagnosed before the age of 50, and it can affect people in their 40’s and younger.

According to available statistics, 1.2 million people in Europe have Parkinson’s, which approximates to:

  •  260,000 in Germany
  •  200,000 in Italy
  •  150,000 in Spain
  •  120,000 in UK
  •  117,000 in France.

This equates to a rate of more than 1 per 1000 people in Europe, making it the second most common neurodegenerative disorder.

Parkinson’s fact sheet – PDF