April has been declared to be Parkinson’s Awareness Month. So, I pose this question to you—what does that mean? If you or someone you care about is dealing with the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD), I hope that maybe you will volunteer for your favorite organization, consider a donation of time and or money for advocacy, educate the onlooker to why you move the way you do or just educate yourself and those around you about the illness.
10. Parkinson’s disease is not just for the elderly. It doesn’t care how old you are. I was in my early 20’s when I was officially diagnosed.
9. Parkinson’s disease is unique for each and every patient. No two of us are alike, making this illness even more perplexing.
8. Dyskinesia or erratic and often uncontrollable jerking movements is a side effect of medication and not due to the disease. PD can alter the strength of the voice.
7. Often, people with Parkinson’s may stop or even freeze in a doorway for some unknown reason. A solution as simple as a light touch can assist them through the door.
6. Timing of a Parkinson’s patient’s medicine regimen is crucial to maintaining their daily activities. One missed dosage can disrupt the whole schedule.
5. Parkinson’s disease’s gold standard drug, Levodopa-Carbidopa is over 50 years old and remains the best drug available.
4. Parkinson’s disease can affect the mind, body, and spirit of the patient. Cognitive problems may or may not arise, tremor, rigidity and balance issues may occur, and many patients may deal with depression and anxiety or more.
3. Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is an option for some PD patients but it is not a cure. DBS is brain surgery and it does not stop the disease progression. It may lower your dosage of medicine but usually you remain on some medicine.
2. The discovery of Parkinson’s disease is nearing its 200 year anniversary and the illness is still not fully understood how or why it exists.
1. Currently, there is no official count for Parkinson’s disease for just how many people in the United States have the illness. We guess and estimate between 500,000 and 1.5 million but there could be many more. Without some form of data collection we just don’t know.
If you would like to learn more about any of the 10 pieces of awareness listed, please visit my helpful websites list on the right hand side on this site.