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Parkinson's disease is Common!

According to the National Institutes of Health, Parkinson's is the second-most common neurodegenerative disorder in the U.S. after Alzheimer’s disease.

  • 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson's each year

  • There will be to 930,000 people with Parkinson's in the U.S. in 2020

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Shaking of the hands, legs, or chin when that body part is resting.


Walking and other movements are slower than they used to be.


Feeling stiff when using the hands or other movements.

  • Symptoms typically start on one side of the body.

  • Individuals with Parkinson's have a different mix of symptoms.

  • Other possible symptoms include imbalance and falling, soft voice, constipation, anxiety, and memory changes.

  • Parkinson's typically happens in people over age 60, although it can occur earlier.

  • Symptoms slowly progress over time. Everyone has a different rate of progression.


  • Research has found that Parkinson's is more common in men than in women. The reason is unknown. 

  • In some cases there is a genetic cause, so people with a close family member with Parkinson's have a slightly increased risk of getting Parkinson's

  • 15-25% of individuals with Parkinson's have a family member with Parkinson's

  • Limited research suggests that Parkinson's is more common in Hispanic and White individuals than in Black or Asian individuals.

It happens when cells in the brain, which produce a chemical called dopamine, die faster than normal.

Dopamine is needed for the brain to make normal movements. Without enough dopamine, the movements in someone with Parkinson's are not normal.  

We do not know what causes the Dopamine cells to die. In a small amount of people there is a clear genetic cause or a clear environmental cause.



  1. Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. Available at:

  2. Wirdefeldt K, Adami HO, Cole P, Trichopoulos D, Mandel J. Epidemiology and etiology of Parkinson's disease: a review of the evidence. Eur J Epidemiol. 2011 Jun;26 Suppl 1:S1-58.

  3. Wright Willis A, Evanoff BA, Lian M, Criswell SR, Racette BA. Geographic and ethnic variation in Parkinson disease: a population-based study of US Medicare beneficiaries. Neuroepidemiology. 2010;34(3):143-51.

  4. Van Den Eeden SK, Tanner CM, Bernstein AL, Fross RD, Leimpeter A, Bloch DA, Nelson LM. Incidence of Parkinson's disease: variation by age, gender, and race/ethnicity. Am J Epidemiol. 2003 Jun 1;157(11):1015-1022.

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