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My hope for the future

Most people think of Parkinson’s as an older person’s disease, but it actually affects 10-20% of people under the age of 50yrs when diagnosed.

I am included in this bracket; I was diagnosed at 47yrs old in 2011. It was certainly not a diagnosis I was expecting, but am fortunate it has had a slow progression so far and I manage well on medication.

Since my diagnosis, I became very conscious of the lack of awareness of young people with Parkinson’s as well as the minimal research in the effects it has on women.

While gender differences are starting to be realised there are still many questions to be answered and the research is scarce.

Some studies show women develop symptoms later which is leading to a later diagnosis possibly due to being neuro protected by oestrogen.

Menopause symptoms can sometimes be similar to some Parkinson’s symptoms, so diagnosis can often be missed leading to this late referral which can impact on the health and wellbeing of women.

Women are at higher risk of tremor, levodopa complications e.g. dyskinesia, depression, anxiety and pain. We wonder why?

Women are used to being the carer, not the receiver of care, which can influence their treatment choices. Parkinson’s can also have an enormous impact on relationships.

So, on this World Parkinson’s Day, I ask that more research is invested into women with Parkinson’s and more awareness is generated.

I also acknowledge all those suffering with the disease and hope a cure is found soon.

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