Parkinson's facts for journalists
Here are some facts and figures for journalists about Parkinson's, how many people are affected,
treatments and the work of Parkinson's UK.
What is Parkinson's?
Most people who get Parkinson's are aged 50 or over but younger people can get it too.
One in 20 is diagnosed under the age of 40.
- Parkinson's is a progressive neurological condition.
- People with Parkinson's don't have enough of a chemical called
dopamine because specific nerve cells inside their brain have died.
It is not known why these cells die.
- Without dopamine people can find that their movements become
slower so it takes longer to do things. This can make everyday
activities, such as eating, getting dressed, or using a phone or
computer, difficult or frustrating.
- The 3 main symptoms of Parkinson's
are tremor, muscle stiffness and slowness of movement. But not
everyone will experience all of these.
- As well as the symptoms that affect movement, people with
Parkinson's can find that other issues, such as tiredness, pain,
depression and constipation, can have an impact on their day-to-day
- Parkinson's doesn't directly cause people to die, but symptoms
do get worse over time.
How many people are affected by Parkinson's?
- Every hour, someone in the UK is told they have
- One person in every 500 has Parkinson's. That's about 127,000
people in the UK.
- Most people who get Parkinson's are aged 50 or over but younger
people can get it too. One in 20 is diagnosed under the age of
- 7.4 million people worldwide are estimated to have
How is Parkinson's treated?
Every hour, someone in the UK is told they have Parkinson's.
There is currently no cure.
- There is currently no cure for Parkinson's, but there are a
range of treatments to control the
symptoms and maintain quality of life.
- Medication is the main treatment for
Parkinson's. Drugs work by restoring the level of dopamine in the
brain or mimicking its actions, but can have side effects,
including abnormal involuntary movements (dyskinesia) and impulsive and compulsive behaviour.
- Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a
type of surgery where electrodes are implanted deep inside specific
parts of the brain. The electrodes are connected to a small battery
under the skin in the person's chest, to generate electrical
signals to stimulate the brain. If successful, DBS can provide
significant improvement in an individual's symptoms and quality of
life, but DBS is not a suitable option for everyone with
- Physical therapies such as
physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and occupational therapy
have an important role to play in the management of
About Parkinson's UK
- As the UK's Parkinson's support and research charity we're
leading the work to find a cure, and
we're closer than ever.
- Since 1969, we have spent around £60million on research into all aspects of Parkinson's. In
2011 we invested more than £4.5million on vital new research
projects. We're currently supporting around 90 research
projects, worth more than £17million.
Since 1969, we have spent around £60million on research into all aspects of Parkinson's.
- We bring people with Parkinson's, their carers and families
together via our network of local
groups, our website and free confidential helpline 0808 800 0303. Because we're here, no
one has to face Parkinson's alone.
- Specialist Parkinson's nurses, our
supporters and staff provide information and training on every
aspect of Parkinson's.
- We campaign to change attitudes and
demand better services.
- Our free and confidential helpline 0808
800 0303 provides help and advice to all people affected by
Parkinson's. Helpline opening hours are Monday-Friday 9am-8pm and
- Our work is totally dependent on donations.