Sharing the effects of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) with a loved one is often painful and it may seem that we’re all too aware of the disease and its many faces. However, with new members inducted into the PD Club at a rate of 60,000 annually — let’s take a moment to recognize April as Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month.
More than one million Americans suffer from Parkinson’s Disease, which is more than the combined total of multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and Lou Gehrig’s disease sufferers. It’s estimated that approximately 10 million throughout the world are diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.
The disease that we now label as Parkinson’s Disease was first identified in an article written by James Parkinson in 1817. The article, “An Essay on the Shaking Palsy”, was discovered and addressed more than 6 decades after Parkinson first wrote of the tremors and other symptoms associated with the disease.
Parkinson’s Disease is a complex illness and requires a proactive approach to the management of the disease and its symptoms through:
- ongoing management of medications
- proper nutrition
- appropriate exercise
- complementary therapies
- active participation in support groups.
National resources include helpful websites such as www.pdf.org which provide information ranging from tips for newly diagnosed patients to more cutting-edge information such as clinical trial enrollment sponsored by PD Trials Coalition at www.PDtrials.org. Michael J. Fox, actor and PD patient, promotes research and the search for a cure through The Michael J. Fox Foundation at www.michaeljfox.org .
Local support groups for patients and their family caregivers can be found by contacting the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation at 1-800-457-6676 or sending an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Houstonian’s have an excellent resource in the long-established Houston Area Parkinson’s Society.
If you have a story to share regarding your journey with Parkinson’s Disease, please join our caregiver forum.