This April, millions of people around the world will recognize April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month. Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder that is chronic and progressive. It affects many in our own community, including residents at Bethesda.
- Nearly one million Americans are living with Parkinson’s.
- Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year, and this number does not reflect the thousands of cases that go undetected.
- Seven to 10 million people worldwide are estimated to be living with Parkinson’s disease.
- Incidence of Parkinson’s increases with age, but an estimated four percent of people with Parkinson’s are diagnosed before the age of 50.
Unfortunately, the cause of Parkinson’s is unknown and presently, there is no cure. That’s why Bethesda is raising awareness this April in support of Parkinson’s Awareness Month. Research suggests the cause of Parkinson’s disease is a combination of genetic and environmental factors, but the exact cause and progression of the disease is still unknown. There is no objective test or biomarker for Parkinson’s disease, and there is no cure or drug to slow or halt the progression of the disease.
The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease vary from person to person and can include tremors; slowness of movement and rigidity; difficulty with balance, swallowing, chewing, and speaking; cognitive impairment and dementia; mood disorders (such as depression and anxiety); constipation; skin problems; and sleep difficulties.
Volunteers, researchers, caregivers, and medical professionals are working to improve the quality of life of persons living with Parkinson’s disease and their families. Research, education, and community support services are needed to find more effective treatments and to provide access to quality care to those living with the disease today.
If you or a loved one are experiencing difficulties with Parkinson’s Disease, Bethesda offers a monthly Parkinson’s Support Group is for all individuals and their family members or special friends looking for support. It is held the second Wednesday of each month at 10:00am in the Pleasant View in-service room. Please contact Jill Baker, RN/MDS Coordinator at 320-214-5669 or [email protected] with any questions or for additional information.