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11 Fast Facts About Parkinson’s

By Ilse du Bernard, 9:00 am on

A Parkinson’s diagnosis often comes with more information that a family can take in at a difficult time, and much of what you may learn about the disease can be confusing. As you and your aging family adjust to the new diagnosis, here are a few fast facts from the leading North Houston Parkinson’s care provider that can give you insight into this progressive disease.

1. Parkinson’s has been around for a long time. A British physician named James Parkinson wrote the first detailed description of it in 1817, but people have been treated for PD symptoms for thousands of years.

2. PD is surprisingly common. Every year, more than 50,000 new cases of Parkinson’s are diagnosed just in the United States.

3. This equates to approximately 1 in every 200 people being diagnosed with Parkinson’s at some point in their lifetime.

4. While the average age at which Parkinson’s begins is 56, even young people can be diagnosed. In fact, the youngest person to be diagnosed was 12 at the time.

5. Men carry a two times greater risk of having Parkinson’s in their lifetime than women.

6. Over the last two decades, Parkinson’s has gained the public’s attention due to celebrities that have been diagnosed with the disease, including Muhammad Ali and Michael J. Fox.

7. The cause of Parkinson’s is still unknown. Genetics, brain injuries, exposure to toxins, and viral infections have all been possible theories.

8. Heredity does seem to play a role in the development of Parkinson’s. Studies have shown that those who have a first-degree relative with Parkinson’s have a four to nine percent greater risk of being diagnosed than those who do not.

9. Parkinson’s symptoms can come and go and slowly increase in severity. This can lead to delayed diagnoses in many patients.

10. There is no single test for Parkinson’s. Instead, physicians use a combination of checking for symptoms and diagnostic imaging to assess the patient. In some cases, responsiveness to medication may be what leads to a final diagnosis.

11. Loss of smell is one of the earliest symptoms of Parkinson’s for a person to display. It often begins four to six years before a person experiences movement dysfunction.

If your senior loved one has recently been diagnosed with PD, you might be worried, confused, or even frustrated. Know that you and your loved one don’t have to go through this process alone. Home Care Assistance of North Houston is here to help. Our caregivers can provide live-in and respite care and can help with grocery shopping, running errands, prescription pick up, mobility support, personal grooming, and offer emotional support and companionship. For more information, please call a dedicated Care Manager at 832-412-1345. We are here 24/7 to answer questions and offer support.