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 people with Parkinson's (PwP) and their families and caregivers with a directory of U.S. and international Parkinson's organizations offering information, care, and support for the Parkinson's community. The organizations provide information about disease symptoms, treatment options, complementary therapy providers (exercise, speech, occupational), support groups, research updates, and upcoming events and webinars.
site redesign July 2020
a resource directory for Parkinson's patients, families, and caregivers
Parkinson's Support Network
About Parkinson's Disease
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.