Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurological condition affecting an estimated one million people in the United States and seven to ten million people worldwide.* Disease onset usually occurs after age 60, and an estimated five to ten percent of cases are diagnosed before age 50 (young onset). Approximately 60,000 new cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. While the cause of Parkinson's is currently unknown, researchers believe it is due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Symptoms of PD are associated with the loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain responsible for controlling movement and mood.
Primary motor symptoms associated with PD are muscle rigidity, slowing of voluntary movements (bradykinesia), tremor at rest, and impaired balance and coordination. Additional motor symptoms may include speech and swallowing difficulties, constipation, and freezing of gait. Patients may also experience non-motor symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, weight loss, constipation, cognitive changes, sleep disturbances, loss of sense of smell, and others. It is important to note that symptoms vary from patient to patient.
Since there is currently no blood or lab test to diagnose PD, a diagnosis is based on a physician's clinical assessment of a patient's symptoms. It is recommended that a patient receive care from a neurologist with additional training in the subspecialty of movement disorders (a Movement Disorder Specialist) or a general neurologist, as these are physicians who specialize in the care of Parkinson's patients.
There is currently no cure or treatment to slow disease progression, but there are treatments that can help to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life for patients. Treatments include medications and complementary therapies, such as physical, occupational and speech therapy, as well as a lifestyle involving regular exercise, a healthy diet and lowered stress levels. Deep brain stimulation is a surgical procedure that has also proven to be helpful for some patients. Promising research is currently underway to identify the cause of PD, develop better treatments, identify biomarkers to diagnose and monitor progression of the disease, and ultimately find a cure.
Welcome to California Parkinson's Support Network at CalPD.info
There are many organizations involved in Parkinson's disease (PD) research, care, education, and support, all of whom share the goals of improving quality of life for patients and ultimately finding a cure for the disease. This website provides Parkinson's patients in California and their families and caregivers with a directory of key Parkinson's organizations from around the world and resources within California that offer information, care, and support for the Parkinson's community. Many of the resources on this site can be accessed from the comfort of home via the web or by phone. Many of the local resource listings, such as support groups, treatment providers, and upcoming events, provide a great way to meet and learn from others about managing care, finding support, and living well with Parkinson's.
U.S. population (2010 census): 309 million
Estimated number of PD patients in the U.S.: 1 million
CA population (2010 census): 38 million (~12% total U.S. pop.)
Estimated number of PD patients in CA: 125,000*
* assumes 12% of U.S. patients are in CA
Southern California (10 southern-most counties)
Population (2010): 22.7 million (~60% of CA pop.)
=> rough estimate of 75,000 PD patients in SoCal
To view support groups in NorCal and in SoCal, see Support Groups.
Northern California (48 northern-most counties)
Population (2010): 14.6 million (~40% of CA pop.)
=> rough estimate of 50,000 PD patients in NorCal
The goal of CalPD.info is to help connect the estimated 125,000 Parkinson's patients in California and their families and caregivers with resources and support to optimize quality of life.
The following links to leading national Parkinson's organizations provide an overview of the disease.
American Parkinson's Disease Association: Basic Info About PD
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research: Advice for the Newly Diagnosed
For access to further information on Parkinson's disease, visit our Resources page.
For information on care and treatment options for PD within California, visit our Treatment page.
To find a Parkinson's support group in California, visit our Support Groups page.
To view upcoming PD webinars and events, visit our Events page.
California Parkinson's Support Network
a resource directory for California Parkinson's patients, families, & caregivers