Celebrating World Parkinson’s Day by Spreading Awareness
April 11th has been named World Parkinson’s Day whereby scientists, medical professionals, caregivers, clinicians, supporters as well as families and individuals who have been affected by Parkinson’s Disease come together to share their experiences and spread awareness about the disease.
Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurological condition that affects an individual’s movement. Symptoms, like tremors or increased, unexplained stiffness or speech issues, start gradually and worsen over time (which is why this is referred to as a “progressive” disease). Many people are familiar with the famous celebrities who have the disease and who have become activists such as Michael J. Fox, Neil Diamond and Muhammad Ali but what many people do not know is that, according to the National Library of Medicine, Parkinson’s Disease is one of the fastest growing neurological conditions in the world. From 1990 to 2015, the number of people with Parkinson’s Disease doubled to over 6 million and this number is projected to double again to over 12 million by 2040.
Although Parkinson’s Disease cannot be cured, every year advances in science and technology take place and progress continues to be made. Medications, such as Levodopa or Safinamide, can help improve symptoms and there are certainly ways that you can help support your loved one or someone you know with this disease.
5 ways you can help someone manage Parkinson’s Disease
- Knowledge is empowerment. Learn everything you can about the disease so that you can recognize the signs and symptoms.
- Normal, everyday tasks can become increasingly difficult for someone with Parkinson’s so offer to help when you are able. Even cooking a meal or offering to do some light cleaning for someone while visiting can make a world of difference!
- Encourage exercise and an active lifestyle as exercising helps the brain use dopamine (the chemical involved in movement) more efficiently.
- Help your friend or loved one feel normal by focusing discussions on things they find joy and comfort in- avoid solely talking about the disease all the time.
- As normal movement and mobility and speech will be impacted over time, please be patient with someone who has Parkinson’s Disease
Be an ally and spread the word! The more patient, understanding and inclusive we can be as a society, the more beautiful of a world it will be for people diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and other similar neurological conditions.
For more information on Parkinson’s Disease, check out our article from April 2021!