Parkinson’s not just a disease for old people, Dubai expert says
More young people in the UAE are being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease because of genetic factors
By Megha Merani, 7days: Young people in the UAE and their doctors are failing to spot the signs of Parkinson’s disease because they think it’s a condition only older adults develop, an expert has warned. The German Neuroscience Centre in Dubai will mark World Parkinson’s Day on Saturday with an education and awareness event for Parkinson’s patients and caregivers. Meanwhile, one of the clinic’s top neurologists is urging greater awareness in the community and among medical professionals to spot the signs of Parkinson’s as early as possible. Dr Heiki Jacobs told 7DAYS: “Even doctors are missing it. They need more disease awareness too, to spot the signs and diagnose or refer suspected cases to a specialist.”
The Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Day will take place on Saturday, April 11, at Sofitel Downtown Dubai from 12pm to 5pm
For information, contact 04 429 8578.
Parkinson’s is a disease in which nerve cells that deliver the neurotransmitter dopamine to other cells are reduced in numbers. As cell death spreads in the brain, motor and non-motor function deteriorate. But often the classic signs – including stiffness, depression and shaking – go unnoticed. And in some cases, the lack of diagnosis is because of the patient’s age.
There is currently no cure for the Parkinson’s disease, but early diagnosis can make a huge difference.
Dr Jacobs explained: “People think it’s the disease of the elderly, and it is. The risk is definitely higher with age. But in the UAE we are seeing more young people due to specific genetic factors. There are cases of early onset, people as young as in their 20s and 30s. My youngest patient is 24. Families where the mother and father are related are at higher risk.” The neurologist noted young people think it is “impossible” for them to have Parkinson’s. She said: “A lot of those diagnosed feel social embarrassment and tend to isolate themselves. They also tend to use their medicine in increased doses because they want to appear normal, but this causes other side effects. Medication can manage symptoms – reduce tremors and improve cognitive function,” she said.