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Increase Awareness About Parkinson’s and Its Impacts

Increase Awareness About Parkinson’s and Its Impacts

March 1, 2024

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month. It is an opportunity to increase awareness about the disorder and its symptoms, as well as to support people living with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects a person’s movements. The cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown but genetics and heredity play a role. Additionally, men are more likely to develop Parkinson’s than women. Its symptoms usually start slowly with a barely noticeable tremor in one hand. It can also cause stiffness of the limbs and trunk, slowness of movement, impaired balance and coordination and tremors in the hands, arms, legs, jaw, or head. As the disease progresses, one may develop cognitive problems leading up to a diagnosis of dementia in the later to final stages of Parkinson’s.

While there are no specific tests to diagnose Parkinson’s disease, a doctor trained in the nervous system, such as a neurologist, will diagnose Parkinson’s based on one’s medical history, signs and symptoms, and a neurological and physical exam. An MRI may aid in showing the progression of the disease but cannot diagnose it. Medications are used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s. Medications can help decide if this is the actual diagnosis as one may feel great improvement while taking the medication.

Parkinson’s can be linked closely with depression and dementia. Research shows that depression and anxiety are more common in people who suffer from Parkinson’s. Also, as the disease progresses, dementia is common to develop. There are medications that will help ease the symptoms but not stop the progression.

There are many ways to slow down the progression of the disease and to help the person with its symptoms. Eating a balanced diet will boost your overall health and give you energy to manage the symptoms. One should eat grains, vegetables, fruit, milk/dairy, fiber, and protein-rich meats and beans. Exercise may be one of the most important tools in slowing the disease’s progress. It is a vital part in supporting balance and mobility and can improve many of the symptoms.

Although there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, by seeking medical help and finding a proper course of treatment, most people with the disease can live happy and fulfilling lives.

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