LAHORE - An estimated 6 million people worldwide are suffering from Parkinson’s disease and each year around 50,000 people are diagnosed with this disease globally.

This was stated by leading neurologists, in a statement to mark World Parkinson’s Awareness Week supported by GSK Pakistan.

Dr Qasim Bashir President Pakistan Stroke Society and Associate Professor Neurology, CMH Lahore said, “The average age of diagnosis is around 60, but approximately 15% of people with Parkinson’s are diagnosed before age 50 and are said to have young-onset Parkinson’s disease.

A number of researchers have found that increased risk of developing disease is 1.5 to 2-fold in males as compared to females, he added.

He said that many treatments could reduce the symptoms and improve the quality of life. Patients need to know that the disease will not be cured completely, but, disease progress can be slowed with medication.

Stressing the need for joint efforts, Dr. Amer Ikram, Senior Neurologist at Doctors Hospital Lahore said, “It will direct people towards getting an early diagnosis and treatment that can improve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. We should play our role in the community to spread awareness about Parkinson’s disease”, he added.

Talking about the causes of PD he said, “The cause of PD is still unknown. Researchers think that both genes and environment may play a role. The disorder is due to a loss of nerve cells in an area deep within the brain called the substantia nigra. This area produces the chemical dopamine. Dopamine helps send signals within the brain. Without the right amount of dopamine, movement can be impaired”.

Parkinson’s disease is also associated with many psychiatric problems such as anxiety, sleep disturbance, psychotic symptoms, but depression is the most common comorbid condition in Parkinson’s disease that can affect Parkinson patients.

“We have to join hands to create awareness about Parkinson’s to help fight this crucial disease and show solidarity with patients”, they concluded. Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a movement disorder. In people with PD, a vital chemical in the brain called dopamine is gradually reduced. It progresses slowly and brings on symptoms of tremor, slowness in movement, stiff limbs, and walking or balance problems. Moreover, there is no definitive test to detect Parkinson’s disease or Parkinsonism. For diagnosis, doctors take a thorough medical history and may request a number of tests.