Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative disorder that affects movement, muscle control, and balance as well as numerous other functions. It is part of a group of conditions known as motor systems disorders. Parkinson’s disease was named for James Parkinson, a general practitioner in London during the 19th century who first described the symptoms of the disease. Symptoms describing Parkinson’s disease are mentioned in the writings of medicine in India dating back to 5,000 BCE as well as in Chinese writings dating back approximately 2500 years. Parkinson’s disease is the most common movement disorder and the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, the most common being Alzheimer’s disease.
The hallmark symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD) are asymmetric tremors at rest, rigidity, and bradykinesia (slowness in movement). There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease; it is always chronic and progressive, meaning that the symptoms always exist and always worsen over time. The rate of progression varies from person to person, as does the intensity of the symptoms. Parkinson’s disease itself is not a fatal disease and many people live into their older years. Mortality of Parkinson’s disease patients is usually related to secondary complications, such as pneumonia or falling-related injuries.
There are three types of Parkinson’s disease and they are grouped by age of onset:
- Adult-Onset Parkinson’s Disease – This is the most common type of Parkinson’s disease. The average age of onset is approximately 60 years old. The incidence of adult onset PD rises noticeably as people advance in age into their 70’s and 80’s.
- Young-Onset Parkinson’s Disease – The age of onset is between 21-40 years old. Though the incidence of Young-Onset Parkinson’s Disease is very high in Japan (approximately 40% of cases diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease), it is still relatively uncommon in the U.S., with estimates ranging from 5-10% of cases diagnosed.
- Juvenile Parkinson’s Disease – The age of onset is before the age of 21. The incidence of Juvenile Parkinson’s Disease is very rare.
Parkinson’s disease can significantly impair quality of life not only for the patients but for their families as well, and especially for the primary caregivers. It is therefore important for caregivers and family members to educate themselves and become familiar with the course of Parkinson’s disease and the progression of symptoms so that they can be actively involved in communication with health care providers and in understanding all decisions regarding treatment of the patient.
According to the American Parkinson’s Disease Association, there are approximately 1.5 million people in the U.S. who suffer from Parkinson’s disease – approximately 1-2% of people over the age of 60 and 3-5% of the population over age 85. The incidence of PD ranges from 8.6-19 per 100,000 people. Approximately 50,000 new cases are diagnosed in the U.S. annually. That number is expected to rise as the general population in the U.S. ages. Onset of Parkinson’s disease before the age of 40 is rare. All races and ethnic groups are affected.
Knowledge is Critical when Dealing with a Life-Altering Condition such as Parkinson’s Disease
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, it’s critical to learn everything you possibly can about this condition so that you can make informed decisions about your treatment. That’s why we created the Medifocus Guidebook on Parkinson’s Disease, a comprehensive 218 page patient Guidebook that contains vital information about Parkinson’s disease that you won’t find anywhere in a single source.
The Medifocus Guidebook on Parkinson’s Disease starts out with a detailed overview of the condition and quickly imparts fundamentally important information about Parkinson’s disease, including:
- The theories regarding the underlying causes of Parkinson’s disease.
- The risk factors that may increase a person’s chances for developing Parkinson’s disease.
- The early signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease that are often overlooked by both patients and doctors because the symptoms are subtle and the progression of the disease is typically slow.
- A detailed overview of the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale that is used by doctors to follow the course of disease progression and evaluate the extent of impairment and disability.
- How Parkinson’s disease is diagnosed based on factors such as signs/symptoms, patient history, physical examination, and a thorough neurological evaluation.
- A comprehensive overview of the major non-motor complications that are often associated with Parkinson’s disease, including:
- Cognitive impairment
- Sleep disturbances
- Sexual dysfunction
- Vision disturbances
Understanding the Standard Treatments…and the Treatment Options
Because currently there is no known cure for Parkinson’s disease, understanding the standard treatments – and the treatment options – is critical for better controlling the symptoms and preserving the patient’s overall functional capacity and quality of life. As you read through the section of the Guidebook that focuses on the treatments for Parkinson’s disease, you will specifically learn about:
- The medications that are commonly used to increase the levels of dopamine in the brain of patients with Parkinson’s disease in an attempt to slow down the progression of the disease.
- Lifestyle modifications that have been shown to be effective for controlling motor symptoms in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.
- The surgical treatment options that are available for Parkinson’s patients with severe motor symptoms that cannot be controlled with medications. These surgical techniques, which are discussed in detail in the Guidebook, include:
- Deep brain stimulation
- Novel approaches for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease that are currently under investigation and which include:
- Neuroprotective therapy
- Fetal cell transplantation
- Gene therapy
- A detailed overview of the American Academy of Neurology practice parameters for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, including:
- Medical management
- Surgical management
- Management of non-motor symptoms such as depression, psychosis, dementia, and sleep disorders
- The role of complementary and alternative therapies in the management of Parkinson’s disease.
- The prognosis (outlook) for people with Parkinson’s disease and the important factors which can significantly influence the prognosis.
- The impact of Parkinson’s disease on the quality of life of both patients and their caregivers.
- Important questions to ask your doctor about Parkinson’s disease.
A “One-of-a-Kind” Reference Guidebook on Parkinson’s Disease that Goes Way Beyond the Fundamentals
Since 1996, when Medifocus was founded, we’ve learned that many people with Parkinson’s Disease are seeking more specific information that goes beyond the fundamentals, such as the causes, diagnosis, standard treatments, and treatment options. That’s why we developed a “one-of-a-kind” reference Guidebook that goes way beyond the basics and also includes the following sections:
- A Guide to Recent Medical Literature on Parkinson’s Disease – This section of the Guidebook contains an extensive bibliography of over 100 references to recently published articles about Parkinson’s Disease in authoritative, peer-reviewed medical journals with links to the absracts (summaries) of the articles. These articles represent the latest advances in the field and focus on cutting-edge research, new developments, and the lessons learned from recently published clinical trials involving patients with Parkinson’s Disease. This is the same level of that is used by doctors who treat people with Parkinson’s Disease to keep abreast of the latest developments and breakthroughs in this specialized field of medicine.
- Centers of Research for Parkinson’s Disease – We’ve compiled a unique directory of doctors, hospitals, medical centers, and research institutions with special interest and, in many cases, clinical expertise in managing people with Parkinson’s Disease. The “Centers of Research” directory is a valuable resource for quickly identifying and locating leading medical authorities and medical institutions both within the United States and other countries who are considered to be at the forefront in clinical research and treatment of Parkinson’s Disease. You’d have to spend days – or even weeks – attempting to compile your own list of doctors and medical centers but, with the “Centers of Research” directory, the information is already right at your fingertips. All you have to do is act on the information by selecting and contacting the experts or medical institutions listed in the directory by state and country.
- Organizations and Support Groups for Parkinson’s Disease – The Guidebook also includes a directory of organizations and support groups whose goal is to help people with Parkinson’s Disease by providing access to information, resources, and services. Many of these organizations can answer your specific questions, enable you to “network” with other patients, and provide guidance in areas such as financial, social, or medical-legal issues. This valuable directory of organizations and support groups includes complete contact information, including phone numbers and E-mail addresses.
To Place Your Order by Telephone, please call us:
- Within the United States (toll free): 1-800-965-3002
- Outside the United States: 1-301-649-9300