Parkinson's occurs as a result of the destruction of nerve cells in the brain that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine. Due to this lack of dopamine, messages in the brain fail to transmit smoothly to the muscles, resulting in difficulties controlling movement. A similar destruction occurs naturally with ageing, but in Parkinson's the process is accelerated.
There are more than 1.2 million people living with Parkinson's in Europe and this number is forecast to double by 2030 primarily as a result of the ageing population. The average age of onset is 60 years, although more than one in 10 people are diagnosed before the age of 50. Parkinson's is more prevalent in men than women, and may affect people of all ethnicities. It is important to remember that Parkinson's can affect anyone.
The EPDA is the only European Parkinson's disease umbrella organisation. It represents 45 member organisations from 36 European countries and advocates for the rights and needs of more than 1.2 million people with Parkinson's and their families.By working with its 45 member associations the EPDA aims to:
- ensure equal and timely access to prompt diagnosis and good-quality Parkinson's care across Europe by raising standards and reducing existing inequalities
- increase public awareness of Parkinson's as a priority health challenge
- help reduce stigma and remove discrimination against people with Parkinson's
- support the development of national Parkinson's organisations throughout Europe