The month of April is recognized as Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month. While Parkinson’s disease is not considered rare, Patient Worthy chooses to continue to provide coverage of this illness because people living with Parkinson’s are in a similar predicament to many rare patients. Treatments for Parkinson’s disease are limited and there is still a significant need for more effective therapies that can reverse the impacts of this long-term, progressive illness.
About Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a type of long term, progressive, degenerative illness that affects the central nervous system. Symptoms tend to develop over a period of years and primarily affect the movement ability and mental state of the patient. The cause of Parkinson’s disease remains a mystery, although there are a number of risk factors that have been identified. These factors include head injuries, pesticide exposure, and certain genetic variants and mutations. About 15 percent of patients have a close relative with the disease, suggesting some genetic connection. Symptoms include slowed movements, poor coordination, trouble walking, shaking, stiffness, abnormal posture, depression, anxiety, inhibited thinking, hallucinations, and dementia. Treatment may involve a number of medications, rehabilitation, and surgical operations. Survival rate varies, but most patients survive around a decade after getting diagnosed. To learn more about Parkinson’s disease, click here.
World Parkinson’s Day: How to Get Involved
A centerpiece of Parkinson’s Awareness Month is World Parkinson’s Day, which is held on April 11th. This day is the birth date of James Parkinson, a surgeon, apothecary, and paleontologist who first described the disease in 1817.
Want to get involved in spreading awareness about this disease? Here are some suggestions:
- Submit a letter do the editor in a local newspaper about Parkinson’s disease. This is a great way to spread awareness in your local community, especially if there are any related events going on.
- Donate. If you have the means, donate to a relevant Parkinson’s focused nonprofit to help support critical research that will improve the lives of patients.
- Submit a proclamation request to your mayor or governor. This may require some research online in order to find out who you should contact, but once you do, follow up with an email or phone call to ensure that the request was delivered. A proclamation from a prominent public official can go a long way.