Parkinson's: 5 Facts You Need to Know (
·2-min read

About 8,000 people in Singapore live with Parkinsons disease, yet this condition with its misconceptions often causes confusion. Professor Louis Tan, Senior Consultant from the Department of Neurology at National Neuroscience Institute (NNI), a member of the SingHealth group, shares five key facts most people are unaware of.

1. Parkinson's disease can affect adults at any age

Parkinsons is most common in people over 60 years old, but it can affect younger adults too:

  • 1 in 8 Parkinsons patients are under 50 years old

  • 1 in 20 Parkinsons patients are under 40 years old

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2. Parkinson's disease is not usually passed through genes

A genetic link is more common when a family member under the age of 50 has been diagnosed with Parkinsons.

3. A tremor is not the only symptom of Parkinson's disease

Parkinson's disease affects people in different ways. About 70% of patients have a tremor. Other symptoms include:

  • Stiff arms and legs

  • Slow movement

  • Problems walking and balancing

  • Changes in speech and writing

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4. There are effective treatments for Parkinson's disease

People with Parkinsons can live for more than 20 years after a diagnosis.

It is true that there is currently no cure for Parkinsons and it does get worse over time, but many live between 10 and 20 years after they are diagnosed. Medication, regular exercise, therapy and in some cases, Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery, can help control symptoms.

5. People with advanced Parkinson's can suffer from dementia

Forgetfulness and thinking problems such as difficulties with planning and multi-tasking can occur in Parkinsons. These can get worse over time and lead to dementia in more advanced stages.

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Articles on are meant for informational purposes only and cannot replace professional surgical, medical or health advice, examination, diagnosis or treatment. Photo courtesy of iStock.