Parkinson's Disease Health Center

Parkinson's disease is a chronic, progressive movement disorder affecting the lives of at least 500,000 individuals across the United States. The disease primarily affects the nervous system and several regions of the brain, mostly in the substantia nigra region, which helps to control balance and movement. 

There are about 60,000 new cases of Parkinson's disease identified each year, averaging out to about 13 out of 100,000 people in the US. Early symptoms, which typically occur in people over the age of 50, are often subtle and develop at a gradual pace.

Physical symptoms of Parkinson's disease can include trembling and shaking, impaired balance, slow movement, inability to move and stiffness. The disease also can result in changes in cognition and mood, sleep disturbances, autonomic dysfunction, depression, difficulty speaking and urinary problems. 

Late-onset Parkinson's is the most common form of the disease, and the risk of developing the condition increases with age. As the condition progresses, the physical symptoms may affect everyday living more severely. 

Review Date: 
July 2, 2012
Last Updated:
August 8, 2014