Parkinson's Disease is a progressive, neurological disorder which affects voluntary movements such as walking, talking, swallowing and writing.

There are three main symptoms - tremor, rigidity and slowness of movements - but not everyone will experience all three.

Tremor usually begins in one hand or arm and is more likely to occur when the part of the body affected is at rest.

It will usually decrease or disappear when the affected part is being used and often becomes more noticeable when a person with Parkinson's is anxious or excited.

About 70 per cent of people with Parkinson's have a tremor and it is slightly less common in younger people with Parkinson's.

Muscular rigidity or stiffness is a common early sign in untreated people.

People may experience problems turning round, getting out of a chair, turning over in bed or making fine finger movements, such as fastening a button.

Some people find their posture becomes stooped or that their face becomes stiff, making facial expressions more difficult.

Stiffness can affect many everyday tasks and can sometimes be quite painful.

Bradykinesia means slowness of movement. People with Parkinson's often find that initiating movements becomes more difficult or that it takes them longer to perform movements.

Lack of co-ordination can also be a problem.

Pam Hart from Worthing has had Parkinson's for about seven years. Her balance has mainly been affected and though her speech is fine, she still has to take extra care.

A retired speech and drama teacher, she now uses her skills to run regular sessions for people with Parkinson's Disease, aimed at helping them with their speech and building up their confidence.

She said: "When I was diagnosed, the first thing I felt was a sense of relief. I had been feeling so ill it was a relief to know what was actually wrong with me.

"After that came the anger. It was a shock. Nobody else in the family had it. It was a real bolt from the blue. There I was getting ready to enjoy my retirement, then this happened.

"However, you have to keep positive and get on with your life.

"This type of teaching is my way of coping. There is a lot of satisfaction out of doing it.

"When you have this condition, you have to try and lead the best life you can. There is no cure but the drugs treatments work very well."

In the UK, one in 500 people, some 120,000 individuals, have Parkinson's.

Symptoms usually appear after the age of 50 and the risk of getting Parkinson's increases with age.

However, in some cases, it starts before the age of 40 and is known as young-onset Parkinson's Disease.

About 10,000 people in the UK are diagnosed each year and one in 20 of these will be below 40.

Drug therapy, the main treatment, helps control symptoms. Physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and self-help also play an important role.

With the treatment that is now available to treat Parkinson's, life expectancy for someone with the condition is fairly normal and none of the drugs used to treat it has any serious side effects.

There is very little scientific evidence about the benefits of complementary therapies for those with Parkinson's but some have found they help with controlling posture, fitness, relaxation, social skills and personal development.

Those used for relaxation have been found to be particularly helpful as stress makes the symptoms of Parkinson's worse.

Techniques used include acupuncture, Alexander technique, aromatherapy, art therapy, hydrotherapy, massage, music therapy, reflexology, tai chi and yoga.

The Parkinson's Disease Society recommends that people interested in trying complementary therapies should consult their doctor to make sure any ongoing treatment is unaffected.

This is particularly true of herbal medicines or any therapy involving the taking of vitamins as some substances may interfere with Parkinson's drugs.

The society urges people not to be discouraged or depressed if they find their condition slows them down or makes certain routine activities more difficult.

They say people should keep working at their own pace and retain as many of their leisure activities as they can to keep themselves as active and healthy as possible.

People can call the society on 0207 931 8080 or go to