This week (11 to 17 April 2021) is Parkinson’s awareness week. Parkinson's is the fastest growing neurological condition in the world, affecting around 145,000 people in the UK alone. To put this into context there are currently more people living with Parkinson’s in the UK than have passed away from coronavirus in the UK over the last 12 months.
Parkinson's develops when the cells in the brain that produce a chemical called dopamine stop working properly and are lost over time. When the brain fails to make enough dopamine, symptoms such as tremors (shaking), slowness of movement and muscle stiffness can be caused. It is also a progressive neurological condition which means that the problems it causes will likely deteriorate over time.
The exact cause of Parkinson's in unknown but researchers believe that it likely due to a combination of age, genetic and environmental factors.
Although there is currently no cure for Parkinson's disease, treatments are available to help reduce the main symptoms and maintain quality of life. These include supportive treatments (such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy), medication and, in some cases, brain surgery.
Unfortunately, there are no tests to conclusively show that an individual has Parkinson's disease. Instead, a doctor will base a diagnosis on presenting symptoms, medical history and a detailed physical examination. Sadly, this can often lead to delays in diagnosis and treatment and an avoidable reduction in quality of life. Indeed, sometimes this can form the basis of litigation to compensate such affected individuals. However, the focus of this year’s awareness week is not late diagnosis but the additional tragedy that up to 50% of people with the condition are also likely to suffer from overlooked and undiagnosed anxiety or depression at some point during their illness. This is particularly important because such problems are known to worsen symptoms such as tremor, stiffness, sleep problems and pain.
If you would like more information, or to contribute to the development of a cure, then please visit www.parkinsonscare.org.uk.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to the negligence of a medical or health professional then we may be able to help you pursue a claim for compensation. Our leading team of experts are on hand to offer advice, so please get in touch with us on 01616 966 229 or complete our online enquiry form and we will contact you directly.