Parkinson’s Disease is a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder that affects 1 in 100 people over age 60. Parkinson’s Disease was first characterized extensively by an English doctor, James Parkinson, in 1817.
Parkinson’s in the elderly and other age groups results from the loss of cells in various parts of the brain, including a region called the substantia nigra. The substantia nigra cells produce dopamine, a chemical messenger responsible for transmitting signals within the brain that allow for coordination of movement.
Loss of dopamine causes neurons to fire without normal control, leaving patients less able to direct or control their movement. Parkinson’s caregivers are essential for helping patients with movement-related tasks.
It’s important for those needing Parkinson’s care to have someone available to help them with everyday chores, including shopping, meal preparation, and more.
Statistics on Parkinson’s Disease
Who has Parkinson’s?
As many as 1 million Americans live with Parkinson’s Disease.
It is more than the number of people diagnosed with MS, muscular dystrophy, and Lou Gehrig’s disease COMBINED.
60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s each year.
4% of people with PD are diagnosed before the age of 50.
Men are more likely to have Parkinson’s than women.
Parkinson’s caregivers help those with PD to live more active lives.
The boxing champion began showing signs of Parkinson’s Disease shortly after retiring from boxing in 1981. He was diagnosed with the disease in 1984 at the age of 42.
Though his doctors aren’t entirely sure, his Parkinson’s disease may be the result of repeated blows to the head during boxing matches.
Michael J. Fox
Most famous for his role as Marty McFly in the Back to the Future movies, he was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s Disease in 1991 at the age of 30.
He went public with his diagnosis in 1998 and committed himself to work while receiving Parkinson’s care. He eventually established the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which raises money for research.
In 1997, the country singer/songwriter announced he was battling Parkinson’s Disease. Despite his illness, he enjoyed a late-career resurgence before his death in 2003.
Likely best known for the endearing characters in the Peanuts comic strip, Schultz was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in his elderly years. In 1999, several years after being diagnosed, he retired the strip.
Eleven-time Grammy award-winning singer Linda Ronstadt revealed to AARP in 2013 that Parkinson’s Disease had silenced her.
Though she was still able to speak, the disease left the then-37-year-old singer of “You’re No Good” and “Don’t Know Much” without a voice.