Understanding Parkinson’s as a journalist

Parkinson's is a progressive neurological condition. This means that it causes problems in the brain and gets worse over time.

What Is Parkinson’s?

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition for which there is currently no cure. The condition develops when nerve cells that are responsible for producing a chemical known as dopamine die. Dopamine allows messages to be sent to the parts of the brain that coordinate movement. With the loss of dopamine-producing nerve cells, these parts of the brain are unable to work normally, causing symptoms of Parkinson's to appear.

There's currently no cure for Parkinson's, but there are lots of different treatments, therapies and support available to help manage the condition.

How many people are living with Parkinson's?

In the UK, around 145,000 people are already living with Parkinson’s. With population growth and ageing, we estimate that this will increase by a fifth, to around 172,000 people in the UK, by 2030.

What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s?

There are more than 40 symptoms of the condition. As well as the most widely known symptom - tremor - these range from physical symptoms like muscle stiffness to depression, anxiety, hallucinations, memory problems and dementia - but Parkinson’s affects everyone differently. Parkinson's doesn't directly cause people to die, but symptoms do get worse over time.

How is Parkinson’s treated?

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 as well as physical therapies.