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An Overview of Parkinson's Disease

Young-Onset Parkinson's Disease

While the disease presents in much the same way among people in the older age groups, people with young-onset Parkinson's disease will have special concerns because they will be dealing with the disease at a younger age and for a potentially longer period. Potential changes needed may involve making career adjustments and family concerns.

However, there is good news for people with young-onset Parkinson's disease. Young-onset Parkinson's disease is different from older onset Parkinson's disease. In general, younger people have a smoother, longer-term course of the illness. While this may, in part, be a reflection that the younger people have fewer other health problems than older people with the disease; the rate of progression is still significantly slower. Associated problems, such as memory loss, confusion, and balance difficulties, are also less frequent in young people with the disease.

On the other hand, people with young-onset Parkinson's disease often have more movement problems due to the most commonly prescribed medication, levodopa, than older people with the disease. For this reason, young-onset patients are often treated with alternatives to levodopa.

Young-onset patients are also better candidates for many of the new surgical procedures and medical innovations that are used to treat and reduce the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

Is There a Cure for Parkinson's Disease?

Although research is ongoing, to date there is no known cure or way to prevent Parkinson's disease. But, research has made remarkable progress. There is very real hope that the causes, whether genetic or environmental, will be identified and the precise effects of these causes on brain function will be understood. These remarkable achievements give real hope for the future.

Still, even though there is no cure for Parkinson's disease, by identifying individual symptoms and determining a proper course of treatment, most people with the disease can live enjoyable, fulfilling lives.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Neil Lava, MD on October 11, 2014
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