April 11 is World Parkinson’s Disease (PD) Awareness Day.
Informing society about this disease is our obligation and is fundamental for seeking timely medical help and to carry out responsible treatment.
So, let’s begin with facts and figures on PD:
▪ Parkinson’s is the fastest growing neurological condition in the world.
▪ There are over 40 symptoms. From pain and stiffness to problems with sleep and mental health. Everyone’s experience is different.
▪ One in 37 people today in the UK will be diagnosed with PD in their lifetime.
▪ Around 145,000 people in the UK are currently diagnosed with PD.
▪ More than 10 million people worldwide are living with PD.
▪ Incidence of PD increases with age, but an estimated 4% of people with PD are diagnosed before age 50.
▪ Men are 1.5 times more likely to have PD than women.
Scientists believe a combination of genetic and environmental factors are the cause of PD.
PD is an extremely diverse disorder. While no two people experience Parkinson’s the same way, some symptoms are common.
The main finding in the brain of people with PD is loss of dopaminergic neurons in the area of the brain known as the substantia nigra.
It can be difficult to know if you or a loved one has PD.
Below are some signs indicative that you might have the disease. No single one of these symptoms means that you should worry, but if you have more than one, you should consider making an appointment with your doctor.
Tremor. A tremor while at rest is a common early sign of PD.
Small handwriting. You may notice the way you write words on a page has changed, such as letter sizes are smaller and the words are crowded together. A change in handwriting may be a sign of PD called micrography.
Loss of smell. If you seem to have more trouble smelling foods like bananas, pickles or licorice, you should ask your doctor about Parkinson’s.
Trouble sleeping. Sometimes, your spouse will notice or will want to move to another bed. Sudden movements during sleep may be a sign of PD.
Trouble moving or walking. Sometimes stiffness goes away as you move. If it does not, it can be a sign of PD. An early sign might be stiffness or pain in your shoulder or hips. People sometimes say their feet seem “stuck to the floor”.
A soft or low voice. If there has been a change in your voice, you should see your doctor to make sure that it is not PD. Sometimes you might think other people are losing their hearing, when really you are speaking more softly.
Masked face. This is often called facial masking. If so, you should ask your doctor about PD.
There is a lot to know about Parkinson’s disease. Keep an eye out for signs and ask for help if in doubt. An early diagnosis is always an advantage.
Article submitted by HPA Group