April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month. The Parkinson’s Foundation wishes everyone to take actions that can impact the future of Parkinson’s Disease. There are several ways to take part in this project by learning about the disease and discovering ways to navigate through a life with Parkinson’s Disease
What is Parkinson's Disease?
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects predominately dopamine-producing neurons in a particular area of the brain called substantia nigra. This means that the neurons located in the part of the brain that controls movement are damaged or die, less dopamine is produced causing the movement-related symptoms of Parkinson's Disease. Parkinson’s Disease affects about one million people in the United States and ten million worldwide. The symptoms associated with the disease differ from person to person but generally, they develop slowly over the years. Many people that suffer from Parkinson’s Disease may experience:
Tremor, mainly at rest and described as pill-rolling tremor in hands. Other forms of tremor are possible
Gait and balance problems
There are currently no cures however treatments can be used to help manage the disease, from medications to surgery. Parkinson’s is not fatal, but the symptoms can create complications that can be serious. It is important to understand the implications and progression of the disease. Symptoms are first noticeable later in the course of the disease because of the vast amount of the substantia nigra neurons that have been impaired or lost.
In addition, to movement-related symptoms, many people suffer through non-motor symptoms. Examples of non-motor symptoms include apathy, depression, constipation, sleep behavior disorders, loss of sense of smell, and cognitive impairment.
What Can You Do?
The Parkinson’s Foundation has contributed to research that has led to breakthroughs in treatment and continues to improve care with patients in the Parkinson’s community. There are several ways in which one can get involved and support these initiatives.
Moving Day is a day to speak up about Parkinson’s disease and move others in the community to participate in this action. It is a movement for change—towards more awareness, more funding, and more understanding of the Parkinson’s Disease. Visit MovingDayWalk.org to find out the closet location and time to participate.
Raise awareness and connect people living with Parkinson’s to valuable information and resources. Not only this but educating yourself and others will provide much needed awareness about this disease. Join the Parkinson’s Foundation in bringing help and hope to the millions of people worldwide living with Parkinson’s disease. They are searching for people impacted by and living with Parkinson’s Disease, as well as Parkinson’s medical and community leaders, to support their mission to improve care and advance research toward a cure.
There are many ways you can get involved in advocacy:
Advocate for research
Address women’s specific needs relating to Parkinson's
Empower people new to their PD diagnosis
Help legislate change
The Parkinson's Foundation. “Parkinson's Awareness Month.” Parkinson's Foundation, https://www.parkinson.org/parkinsons-awareness-month.
The Parkinson’s Foundation. “A Movement for Change.” Moving Day, 15 Feb. 2022, https://movingdaywalk.org/.