Parkinson´s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder. The nerve cells predominantly dying are those using dopamine as messenger and controlling movement. Normally, the disease develops over the course of 15 to 20 years. In its later stages, it is highly disabling and making it difficult to live an independent life.
Patients with Parkinson´s disease gradually lose the ability to govern their movements. It could begin with mild tremor in one hand. Stiffness, slowed movement and impaired mobility emerge in pace with the development of the degeneration Other symptoms including difficulty sleeping, constipation, depression, cognitive impairment and hallucinations frequently occur in various stages of the disease.
Almost 10 million people worldwide currently have Parkinson’s disease (European Parkinson’s Disease Association). Approximately one percent over the age of 60 will be affected.
With a growing elderly population, the prevalence of the disorder is increasing. Parkinson’s disease is the world’s second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease and the number of patients is expected to increase to nearly 13 million in 2040 (Dorsey and Bloem, JAMA Neurology 2018;75:9-10).