Parkinson’s disease: The ‘disorder’ linked to ‘50% chance’ of developing the condition

Harry Styles' mum on her father having Parkinson's disease

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It’s thought around one in 500 people are affected by Parkinson’s disease, according to the NHS. Men are slightly more likely to get Parkinson’s disease than women, and most people with Parkinson’s start to develop symptoms when they’re over 50. There are several symptoms and signs to look out for.

Parkinson’s UK says that the brain changes that are part of Parkinson’s can cause sleep difficulties and “some people have problems sleeping even before movement symptoms develop” and it is diagnosed.

It adds: “Rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep is a normal part of the sleep cycle when people dream. Usually the only part of the body that moves during REM is the eyes, thus the name.”

The Johns Hopkins University notes that REM behaviour disorder is different from other sleep problems, like insomnia.

“People who have it may jerk or kick — it’s as though they are acting out their dreams,” it notes.

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The organisation says that in a similar pattern to anosmia, “people with idiopathic (meaning there’s no known cause for it) REM sleep behaviour disorder have at least a 50 percent chance of eventually developing Parkinson’s disease”.

Indeed, Parkinson’s UK says it may develop after or along with the disease, but in most cases, it precedes the Parkinson’s diagnosis by five to 10 years.

Parkinson’s UK adds that sleepiness during the day is seen in about 30 to 50 percent of people with Parkinson’s and “it is more prominent as the disease advances”.

The charity says that sleep-related symptoms are reported by more than 75 percent of people with Parkinson’s.


Although there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, early diagnosis is important so that patients can receive the proper treatment and advice regarding care.

The NHS states that there are three main symptoms of the condition.

They are involuntary shaking of particular parts of the body, slow movement and stiff and inflexible muscles.

“See a GP if you’re concerned that you may have symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
“They’ll ask about the problems you’re experiencing and may refer you to a specialist for further tests,” the site adds.

The NHS notes that a person with Parkinson’s disease can experience a wide range of other physical and psychological symptoms.

The Parkinson’s Foundation notes that non-motor symptoms, which “are common and can be more troublesome and disabling than motor symptoms”, include things such as loss of sense of smell or taste.

You may also notice excessive sweating, often when wearing off medications, and an increase in dandruff, known as seborrheic dermatitis.

Some people will also have vision problems, especially when attempting to read items up close, or notice weight loss, sexual problems and mood issues.

The NHS says you may not need any treatment during the early stages of Parkinson’s disease “as symptoms are usually mild”.

It adds: “Many people respond well to treatment and only experience mild to moderate disability, whereas the minority may not respond as well and can, in time, become more severely disabled.

”Indeed, with advances in treatment, most people with Parkinson’s disease now have a near-normal life expectancy.

Parkinson’s disease does not directly cause people to die, but can make some people more vulnerable to serious infections.

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