Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Parkinson's disease: disability, review, and management.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986; 293 doi: (Published 13 September 1986) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986;293:675
  1. W J Mutch,
  2. A Strudwick,
  3. S K Roy,
  4. A W Downie


    Data from a descriptive study of idiopathic Parkinson's disease were analysed aimed at getting a clearer picture of the impact of the disease on the community and the help available to patients and carers. Altogether 267 patients aged 40-92 were identified, and the median duration of disease in those in whom this could be assessed was 7.2 years. Of the 267 patients, 204 (76.4%) were living in the community, 51 alone. A total of 201 patients were taking levodopa, 29 out of 102 had retired early, and 60 out of 84 (71.4%) had given up driving. Most patients had symptoms at the time of study, and signs such as bradykinesia, rigidity, impaired speech, and abnormal gait were often moderate or severe. Of 214 patients whose disease was assessed using the scoring system of Hoehn and Yahr, 78 (36.4%) had grade 4 and 23 (10.7%) grade 5 disability. Despite this, however, 105 of 265 patients (39.6%) were not subject to regular medical review and only 57 of 227 patients (25.1%) had been seen by an occupational therapist, 16 (7.0%) by a physiotherapist, and 10 (4.4%) by a speech therapist. Patients with Parkinson's disease may benefit from regular medical review and being seen by therapists.