April is National Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month

Nearly one million Americans are living with Parkinson’s Disease—a debilitating illness that can cause uncontrollable tremors, muscle rigidity, and bradykinesia (slowness of movement). While there is no known cure, a Parkinson’s diagnosis is not the end of the world. There are treatment options available and in home care can make life much easier for individuals suffering from this disease.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s Disease is a chronic movement disorder that interferes with a person’s ability to control their own muscles. The disease is progressive, meaning it gets worse over time. While many medical advances have changed our understanding of the disease in the past ten years, there is still no known cause or cure.

Unfortunately for our aging population, seniors (60-years old or older) are at the highest risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease—especially if there is a family history of the illness.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease include:

  1. Muscle Tremors (usually in the hands legs, jaw, or face)

  2. Slowness of Movement

  3. Postural Instability

  4. Impaired Balance

  5. Poor Coordination

In addition to these “motor symptoms” there are a number of non-motor symptoms experienced by Parkinson’s patients including loss of smell, poor sleep regulation, and changes in mood (depression, etc.).

Scientists have discovered that people struggling with Parkinson’s are more likely to suffer from the formation of “Lewy Bodies” (protein clumps) in certain portions of the brain and loss of certain necessary brain cells. But whether these discoveries can lead to a treatment or not remains to be seen.

Living with Parkinson’s Disease