Under Age 45? Would You Know If You Had Parkinson's Disease (PD)?

Release date: 3/30/2010

New National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) Survey Says Not Likely; NPF Urges Americans To Recognize PD Symptoms; Launches Parkinson.org

-April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month-


Miami, FL, March 30, 2010– The majority of people with young-onset Parkinson’s disease saw two to three physicians before receiving a correct diagnosis, according to a just-released National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) survey of young onset Parkinson’s patients. The survey was conducted at the “Young Onset Parkinson Conference” held in Sacramento, California.

The survey results underscore the frustration many patients go through prior to a correct diagnosis. Recognizing this frustration, along with the need for a comprehensive source for information on PD, NPF has just launched its new web site, www.parkinson.org.

“Parkinson.org is intended to be the “go-to” resource for the Parkinson’s community,” says Joyce Oberdorf, NPF’s President and CEO. “For people with questions about worrisome symptoms, it serves as a perfect place to start. Armed with the most current PD information, people can now visit their physicians prepared with focused questions – which in turn can provide a quicker diagnosis, and ultimately the most appropriate and best available care.”

Additional survey results show that the first symptom most young-onset Parkinson’s patients notice is tremor (70%), followed by general stiffness (39%). Loss of sense of smell (16%) also is a factor. Furthermore, respondents report that the highest concern is how their PD will progress, followed by worry over career and finances.

“The average age of a PD diagnosis is around 62. When an individual is diagnosed with PD before the age of 50, the disorder is called young-onset Parkinson’s disease. Early symptoms of PD can be subtle, particularly for young-onset Parkinson’s, and it often takes an expert in the disease to make the proper diagnosis,” explains Michael S. Okun, M.D., National Medical Director for the National Parkinson Foundation.

About www.parkinson.org
The National Parkinson Foundation, with its long history of providing support and information for people diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s disease, takes its role to new level with the launch of www.parkinson.org.

“With so much information available, it is difficult for people with Parkinson’s, their families and those who care for them to wade through it all and find the information they need,” continues Oberdorf. “This site puts the needs of the community first, and consolidates all available resources in one place.”

Moreover, the web site helps people better understand their disease—from diagnosis to treatment—and provides tips for how to live well and care for someone with the disease.

Features of the site include:

  • “Ask a Doctor,” in real-time in both Spanish and English
  • Also, Ask a Surgeon, Pharmacist, and Nutritionist
  • A Video Library of leading experts addressing the most pressing concerns
  • Checklists that people can print and take to their doctor’s office
  • Tips on Daily Living and How-to’s to promote living well with Parkinson’s
  • Share you story or pay tribute to a loved one with Parkinson’s
  • Extensive list of on-the-ground chapters, support groups and care centers
  • Blogs, columns and more!

About Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s with an estimated one million people with the disease in the U.S. and four to six million worldwide. At present, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease and 50-60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the U.S.

About the National Parkinson Foundation
Founded in 1957, the National Parkinson Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of care for people with Parkinson’s disease through research, education, and outreach. Since 1982, NPF has funded more than $150 million in care, research and support services.

For more information about the National Parkinson Foundation, please visit www.parkinson.org or call 1-800-327-4545.

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