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Understanding Parkinson's Disease for National Parkinson's Awareness Month

04/25/2018
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While April showers bring May flowers, this spring month brings something else to the surface. The fourth month of the year serves as National Parkinson’s Awareness Month, to draw attention to this neurodegenerative disorder. The theme for this year’s awareness is “Start a Conversation,” to ensure participants are bringing this disease to the forefront and helping people get a diagnosis before it is too late.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?’

Understanding Parkinson’s disease is complicated, due to no two cases of patients have the same experiences.

The standard definition is a neurodegenerative disorder affecting mainly dopamine-producing neurons in the substantia nigra, a particular part of the brain. Parkinson’s disease develops its symptoms slowly and varies from person to person due to how diverse the disease develops in an individual.

Symptoms of Parkinson's disease

The diversity of the disorder makes it difficult to define even the symptoms of it, but the common signs are the following:

  • Bradykinesia, or slowness in movement
  • Gait and balance disorder, which causes falls in elderly populations
  • Limb rigidity
  • Tremors, often as a pill-rolling tremor in the hands

Again, symptoms vary between patients who have Parkinson’s disease.

How to Celebrate National Parkinson’s Awareness Month

Bringing awareness to this neurodegenerative disorder is crucial in April. Even though you may not suffer with or know someone who suffers with it, it is still on you to stay informed and give more insight to others of Parkinson’s disease.

Stick with the theme

With a motto of “Start a Conversation,” you can talk about the disorder to others, so more and more people become aware of this disease. Get informed about Parkinson’s disease and don’t be afraid to share your knowledge with others.

Volunteer to help those with Parkinson’s

By getting a firsthand account of the daily life of someone with the disorder is crucial for your knowledge and understanding of Parkinson's disease. Visit your local adult daycare to interact with individuals who have Parkinson’s to see how they communicate with others or function on their daily basis.

Sign the National Parkinson’s Awareness Month Pledge

The Parkinson’s Foundation offers a pledge for you to take to make it a point to bring awareness to this disorder. You are signing to take responsibility to share the information of Parkinson’s disease among your friends and family so more people can start seeing the symptoms sooner, rather than too late.