Younger Onset Parkinson's

It is estimated that there are over 8,000 South Australians with PD. About one in five of these are under the age of sixty-five.

Many people continue in the workforce with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s or other movement disorder, although some find that they have to give up work earlier than they would have liked to. Younger people may face the challenges of dealing with Parkinson’s at a time in their lives when family and financial affairs are most demanding. To add to this burden, people who experience young onset are likely to suffer chronically for a much longer period of time than those who get the condition later in life.

If people with younger onset Parkinson’s are to retain the best quality of life possible, they will benefit from becoming as knowledgeable as possible in the management of their condition. It is insufficient to rely on health professionals with whom contact is infrequent and fleeting. General Practitioners are often not fully aware of the impact of Parkinson’s in younger patients. Many newly diagnosed younger people show few, if any, symptoms under drug therapy.

Carefully selected modern treatments for Parkinson’s mean that a person can continue to work and have a good quality of life for many years after diagnosis. But management of the condition is not only about medical treatment. Life may be at its most stressful as you approach your 40s and 50s and young patients often need someone with whom they can talk about their problems and worries. Sometimes it is difficult for a partner or carer to understand, so there can also be benefit from talking to others in a similar situation.

Parkinson’s SA provides a range of formal and informal group activities and seminars for people in their 20s to 50s and the Support Line offers one on one counselling, information and support.

Multiple System Atrophy (MSA)

MSA is a complex and challenging condition. Parkinson’s SA provides information and support for people with MSA and their families, friends and carers.

Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) is a rare neurological condition. It is caused by a gradual loss of nerve cells and shrinkage of the brain cells in the basal ganglia, cerebellum and brain stem - all of which control movement, balance and the automatic functions of the body (such as the bladder). MSA is a progressive condition with no known cure at present. However, treatments and therapies are available to help manage symptoms of MSA. Research into MSA is currently underway giving some hope for the future, particularly in relation to more effective management of symptoms.

Symptoms vary from person to person and often resemble Parkinson’s disease, for example stiff muscles and balance problems along with constipation, bladder problems, sleep disturbance and low blood pressure.

MSA is difficult to diagnose. It is common for people with early symptoms of MSA to be misdiagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. A limited response to Parkinson’s medications is an indicator of the need to review a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. Because MSA is rare, many doctors are unaware of the condition. A neurologist visit is essential as they are more likely to be up-to-date with the latest advances in treatment and management.

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) is a rare neurological condition affecting the parts of the brain that control walking, eye movements, balance, speech and swallowing. Symptoms can be managed with a range of therapies and treatments, but symptoms become progressively worse over time. There are currently around 1300 Australians diagnosed with PSP, although many others may have the condition but be wrongly diagnosed.

PSP Australia is a group of people with personal experience of living with this condition. We understand that having clear, accurate information can really help to make the most of living with PSP. Their website provides information for anyone affected by Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, including people diagnosed, their family members, friends and carers, and health care professionals.


This webpage has been produced on behalf of the Dystonia Support Group to provide information to people living with Dystonia. We hope that this information will help you to better understand your journey with this condition and offer ways to help with the day to day challenges you experience along the way. 

What is Dystonia?

Dystonia is a movement disorder characterised by sustained or intermittent muscle contractions causing abnormal, often repetitive, movements, postures, or both. Dystonic movements are typically patterned and twisting, and may be tremulous. Dystonia is often initiated or worsened by voluntary action and associated with overflow muscle activation.

Source: Movement Disorder Society 6 May 2013

What’s New

Essential Tremor

Essential Tremor and Parkinson’s disease are different disorders. Essential tremor is characterised by shaking when movement is initiated, which can continue or worsen during movement. The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include involuntary tremor at rest, muscle stiffness, slowness of movement and freezing.

Links and Information

Parkinson’s SA offers information and support to those with Essential Tremor, in addition to Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders.