Young Onset Parkinson's Disease (YOPD)
Young onset Parkinson's
Young Onset Parkinson’s disease (YOPD) occurs in people younger than 50 years of age. Most people with idiopathic, or typical, PD develop symptoms at 50 years of age or older.
YOPD affects about four percent of the one million people with PD in the United States. Symptoms are similar to late onset PD but it is important to understand the challenges YOPD individuals often face at a financial, family and employment levels.
In everyone with Parkinson's, both genetic changes and environmental factors likely contribute, to different degrees, to cause the disease. In younger people, especially those who have multiple family members with Parkinson's, genetics may play a larger role. Certain genetic mutations (in the PRKN gene, for example) are associated with an increased risk of young-onset PD. If you have YOPD (and particularly if you have a family history of Parkinson's), you may consider genetic testing to see if you carry one of these mutations.
Finding hope through local young onset support groups
Olivia was so young when her symptoms began that she never attributed them to anything serious. It started with weakness in her hands and poor dexterity, then progressed to muscle tension and spasms. Her grandmother, who had Parkinson’s disease herself, pointed out to Olivia that she had a tremor. Then, at only 24 years old, Olivia was diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s disease.
MANAGEMENT OF YOPD SYMPTOMS
A variety of treatments exist to help you manage YOPD symptoms. There are many behaviors you have control over. As our founder, Davis Phinney, says, “You cannot afford to be passive in your approach, whether we are talking about your day to day management or your interaction with your health care provider.”