Parkinson\’s Disease Awareness Day​

Every 9 minutes someone is diagnosed with Parkinson\’s Disease , and there is no known cause or cure. But symptoms can be managed. That’s why Parkinson’s Awareness Day is so important. ​

​What is Parkinson’s Disease?​

Parkinson\’s is a progressive brain disorder that affects the nervous system, causing muscles to gradually lose control. The disease progresses over time and can often take years before any symptoms appear. Although it\’s not easily diagnosed some of the more common tell-tale symptoms are tremors, slowed movement, rigid muscles, impaired posture and trouble balancing. ​

​Parkinson\’s is mostly diagnosed in people who are over 50 years old, but it can affect people as young as 30. Men are twice as likely as women to develop Parkinson\’s and as many as 110,000 veterans live with Parkinson\’s worldwide​

​Diagnosing Parkinson’s Disease​

When diagnosing Parkinson\’s, doctors look for four classic:​

  •  Tremors​
  •  Rigidity in the wrist and elbow joints​
  •  Slowness of movement​
  •  Unstable posture​

Other prevalent signs are slight changes in speech and changes in the motions of writing changes.​

Managing Parkinson’s​

With over 40 symptoms of Parkinson\’s, everyone\’s experience is different. This means that patients need a range of different therapies to help meet the needs of the individual and the specific form of the condition. Therapies could involve medication and surgical approaches, as well as lifestyle changes like diet and exercise.​

​Patients are encouraged to take up 2.5 hours of exercise per week which could include routines like dance, biking, pilates, running, yoga and weights. Many patients are also encouraged to eat foods and supplements that have co-enzyme Q10, Vitamins C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Green super food formulas and foods rich in Omega 3 fish oil.​

​Can Parkinson’s Disease be treated?

Although there is no cure yet, new treatments are being tested in clinical trials that have the potential to slow, stop or even reverse Parkinson\’s. These include:​

​● Stem cell therapies, which aim to use healthy, living cells to replace or repair the damage in the brains of people with Parkinson\’s ​

● Gene therapies, which use the power of genetics to reprogramme cells and change their behaviour to help them stay healthy and work better for longer​

● Growth factors (like GDNF), which are naturally occurring molecules that support the growth, development and survival of brain cells​

Support for those living with Parkinson’s​

Because Parkinson\’s symptoms develop gradually and occur mostly people over the age of 60, many patients require a caregiver to help with managing the disease. The hands-on daily tasks of taking care of a loved one can be a challenging job. It is important for patients and caregivers to have the right attitude towards the disease and to create an amazing supportive environment around them.​

You can sign up to various groups and support structures if you are living with the disease, living alongside it or you just want to gain insight into the disease. This helps in spreading awareness and lending support to anyone in need.​

​Foundations such as the Michael J. Fox foundation offer help to patients and caregivers who need assistance and support in managing Parkinson\’s. In Namibia, a foundation called healABILITY – founded by Dr James Farley in the MFC Center for Healing, provides support and neurobiomedicine functional restoration programmes to Parkinson\’s patients.​

​Celebrities Living With Parkinson\’s:

Celebrities help increase awareness of a disease when they step out and share their experiences. Some famous celebrities living with Parkinson\’s disease include Muhammad Ali (world champion boxer), Neil Diamond (famous musician with hits like Sweet Caroline) and Ozzy Osbourne (frontman for Black Sabbath and reality TV star). ​


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