What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic, progressive neurological disease. Parkinson’s is classified as a movement disorder disease, although there are many non-motor symptoms. It is classically thought to be caused by the loss of dopamine-producing cells which are responsible for smooth, coordinated, automatic movements in the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia also have connections to the limbic system (emotions) and the frontal cortex (cognition).

Key Parkinson’s Disease (PD) Facts:

  • One million Americans live with PD
  • 10 million worldwide are affected by Parkinson’s
  • According to the Parkinson’s Foundation Prevalence Program, 20,600 people in Georgia and an estimated 13,000 people in metro-Atlanta living with PD
  • Annually 60,000 people are newly diagnosed with PD, expected to double by 2030.
  • Parkinson’s diagnosis increases with age.
  • Four percent of those diagnosed are under the age of 50.
  • Men are 1.5 X more likely to be diagnosed than women.
  • The cause of PD is unknown. It is believed that “Genes load the gun, environment pulls the trigger.”
  • There is no known cure for PD and symptoms are managed through medication, non-pharmacological treatment (exercise and physical therapy) and surgery (DBS).
  • PARKINSON’S DISEASE IS NOT “ONE SIZE FIT ALL” – referred to as the “Snowflake Disease” or “Fingerprint Disease, because no two cases are alike.