Although Parkinson's is typically diagnosed around age 60 or later, symptoms can start at 50 years old or earlier. If that occurs, it's referred to as young-onset Parkinson's disease (YOPD). Estimates vary, but about 10 percent of people with Parkinson's may fall into this category. While the range of potential symptoms and treatment options are the same no matter when Parkinson's is diagnosed, younger people may experience symptoms and overall course of disease somewhat differently.
In this podcast, Nancy Mulhearn, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2006 at age 44, shares her experiences with the disease.
"It's a very difficult diagnosis to accept because it's just so unclear what the future holds," say Nancy. "You just don't know."
It took Nancy a while to accept her diagnosis. A turning point in her journey with Parkinson's came when she attended a research event hosted by The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) and met others with YOPD.
"[I sat] next to [MJFF Patient Council Co-Chair] Soania Mathur, who had been diagnosed a couple of years before me with young-onset Parkinson's. That moment changed my life completely in dealing with my diagnosis. She made me feel for the first time like I wasn't alone."
Hear more from Nancy in our next Third Thursdays Webinar: "Challenges and Treatment of Young-Onset Parkinson's Disease" on Thursday, June 15 at 12 p.m. ET. Register now.