Young Onset Parkinson’s
A common misconception about Parkinson’s is that it only affects older people. Although the average age of onset is 65, Parkinson’s can affect adults of any age. It is estimated that 1 in 5 people living with Parkinson’s are of working age. This is known as Young Onset Parkinson’s.
The diagnosis of Young Onset Parkinson’s is the same as idiopathic (or typical) Parkinson’s, except for the age of the individual.
The challenges faced by people living with Young Onset Parkinson’s may be different to those diagnosed in retirement age as many younger people are still working, studying, travelling and caring for their family. Being diagnosed with a chronic condition at a young age also presents some unique emotional challenges.
Most younger people with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s still remain active in employment, leisure activities and in the community. Support from family, friends, and employers will impact greatly on this.
As is the case with all Parkinson’s, the symptoms and rate of progression varies greatly from person to person. However evidence suggests that there are some symptoms that are more common in people living with Young Onset Parkinson’s, such as:
- A slower disease progression
- An increased rate of dyskinesia in response to Parkinson’s levodopa
- An increased rate of dystonia (sustained abnormal postures, such as turning in or arching of the foot and toes) at onset and during treatment
In very rare instances, Parkinson’s-like symptoms can appear in children and teenagers. This form of Parkinson’s is considered to be a separate condition known as ‘Juvenile Parkinson’s’.
If you believe you or a member of your family has juvenile Parkinson’s, you should consult a neurologist with expertise in treating children.
Support for you
Parkinson’s Victoria provides information and support for people living with Young Onset Parkinson’s including:
- Peer support network, Young @ Park (Y@P)
- Y@P aims to develop connections between members by providing a message board and links to social media; as well as the latest information about Y@P events and other news items which are particularly relevant to younger people living with Parkinson’s
- Dedicated website
- Living with Parkinson’s section of this website, including information on Working and Relationships and Family Life
- Contact the Parkinson's Victoria Health Team
- Call: (03) 8809 0400
- Free call: 1800 644 189
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org