April is Parkinson’s Awareness month. The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) estimates that there are nearly one million people in the United States living with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and 4.1 million people with PD worldwide.
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a movement disorder that is chronic and progressive, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time. The cause is unknown, and although there is presently no cure, there are treatment options such as medication and surgery to manage its symptoms.
Parkinson’s disease occurs when a group of brain cells that produce a chemical called dopamine begin to malfunction and die. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger, that sends information to the parts of the brain that control movement and coordination.
When a person has Parkinson’s disease, their dopamine-producing cells begin to die and the amount of dopamine produced in the brain decreases. Messages from the brain telling the body how and when to move are therefore delivered more slowly, leaving a person incapable of initiating and controlling movements in a normal way.
Why Raise Awareness?
Parkinson’s Awareness Month presents an important opportunity to become better informed and to educate your community about this neurological disorder. As our society continues to age, the number of individuals with Parkinson’s Disease is expected to grow. In fact, the number of people dying from Parkinson’s disease has quadrupled in the past 20 years.
Supporting Parkinson’s patients and their families is as crucial as understanding the causes of Parkinson’s disease. The hope is to find new and better treatments and strategies to manage the condition, as well as new ways to help those suffering from the disease to better cope in their day-to-day lives.
How Can You Help to Raise Awareness about Parkinson’s?
• Learn the latest facts about symptoms, treatments and more. Browse our Educational Power Point or learn more online by visiting:
• The American Parkinson Disease Association – http://www.apdaparkinson.org
• The National Parkinson’s Foundation – http://www.parkinson.org
• The Michael J. Fox Foundation – http://www.michaeljfox.org
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