I have Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson's disease is characterized by the progressive disappearance of nerve cells located in a region of the brain called "black substance". These cells produce dopamine (a chemical messenger between cells) and are involved in controlling the accuracy and fluidity of movement. When a large part of these cells has disappeared (more than 50%), the characteristic symptoms of Parkinson's disease appear.
Is Parkinson's disease a common disease?
The incidence of Parkinson's disease increases with age: 90% of cases are seen in people over 50 years of age. In industrialized countries, it is estimated that Parkinson's disease affects approximately 0.6 to 0.8% of people aged 65 to 69, and 2.6 to 3.5% of people aged 85 to 89 years. In France, about 120,000 people suffer from this disease. Men are more affected than women, perhaps because of a protective effect of female hormones (estrogen).
In terms of frequency, Parkinson's disease is the second neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's disease.
What are the complications of Parkinson's disease?
Parkinson's disease varies widely in different patients. This evolution is independent of the age at which the disease appeared. It is probably a function of the degree of degeneration of the dark substance but also of that of other regions of the brain (for example, the basal ganglia). In 85% of cases, the symptoms are not only due to the disappearance of nerve cells secreting dopamine in the substantia nigra, but also to abnormalities involving other chemical messengers of the brain.
Parkinson's disease has little impact on life expectancy. In the most advanced forms, in addition to the usual symptoms, Parkinson's disease is sometimes complicated by confusion (the patient no longer understands the situation in which he finds himself, he is disoriented in time and space, he has problems with hallucinations, etc.), memory problems, or even dementia. Since drugs prescribed for Parkinson's disease can cause hallucinations and confusion, this type of complication should be distinguished from possible side effects of these drugs.