April Is Parkinson's Awareness Month
Many different diseases and conditions such as cancer, kidney disease, epilepsy, and many other conditions have an "awareness month", which is meant to be a time when people recognize the disease and funds are often raised to treat or cure it. Another (more recently declared) month for awareness is Parkinson's Awareness Month. The goal helps create awareness of Parkinson's and how it impacts those living with it. Funds are often raised to help try to find additional treatments and ultimately a cure for Parkinson's. Our goal is to one day live in a Parkinson's free world where the disease no longer impacts people.
What Is Parkinson's Disease?
Parkinson's Disease is a neuromuscular condition that causes a person to experience tremors and involuntary, uncontrolled movements of limbs. It will usually start with one hand and spread throughout the rest of the body. The pace at which the disease advances largely depends on the person, the type of Parkinson's, and how their body responds to treatments. Parkinson's is caused by a lack of dopamine in the brain when damaged nerve cells cannot produce the dopamine needed. Dopamine controls movement and carries signals to the muscles as it would in a person who doesn't have Parkinson's.
Currently, they rely mostly on lab tests to prove if someone has Parkinson's. Parkinson's requires a medical diagnosis by a professional. There are currently medications that can limit the severity of a case of Parkinson's that someone is experiencing, but the disease cannot currently be cured.
What Are Some of the Symptoms of Parkinson's?
Different people will experience different symptoms when diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Some of these symptoms may include some of the following:
- Tremors (varying in severity depending on the person and the severity of their condition)
- Involuntary movements
- Involuntary muscle contractions
- The restlessness of body parts
- Trouble with fine motor skills/movements (i.e. writing, sewing, etc.)
- Poor coordination
- Difficulty standing/walking
- Stiff gait when walking
These are just some of the main symptoms that people with Parkinson's experience. Others might experience interrupted sleeping patterns that force them to wake up very early in the morning. Rarely, and in the latest stages of Parkinson's, people will struggle with things like amnesia, dementia, general cognitive decline, fatigue, dizziness, difficulty speaking/paralysis of the voicebox, and depression. Others may lose their sense of taste/smell.
Why Does Parkinson's Awareness Month Matter?
The awareness month for any disease, including Parkinson's Disease, is a crucial time when many medical professionals, researchers, non-profit organizations, and other philanthropists take time to do fundraising to raise funds to find further treatments or cures for more common diseases like Parkinson's Disease.
These various "disease awareness months" are also key to helping others understand what people with these conditions go through. There are often educational seminars for people who wish to learn more about the disease/condition that they are raising awareness of. Hospitals, independent doctors, or those wanting to educate the public often offer these seminars. Thus, more awareness occurs and people donate more money toward finding a cure.
The more information people have on Parkinson's Disease, the more they can do to help. After all, it's all about education being power" as they say. In April, that means helping educate people about Parkinson's Disease and how it can affect the human body. Ultimately, we can't and won't stop raising awareness and funds to treat the disease until it can be cured.
Elite Home Health Care Aides Can Help
Many families might be spending their time worrying about how they can get their loved one who has Parkinson's Disease the help they need in their everyday lives. Spouses, children, and other relatives can find complete care for someone with advanced Parkinson's very overwhelming. Many feel isolated and alone when going through a situation like this. Elite Health Home Aides are here to help you during your most challenging times. We pride ourselves on the excellent care provided for our loved ones right in their own home.
Whenever you need assistance, please know that you are not alone. We are here to do what we can to help. Please feel free to contact us at Elite Home Health Care and we will be here to ensure that we are here to ensure the comfort and the care of your loved one. Our primary mission is to ensure that you can take care of your loved one in the peace, comfort, and welcoming environment of your own home.
Written by: Leah Ganz
Leah Ganz, RN, BSN is the Director of Patient Services at Elite Home Health Care. She has an extensive background in homecare and previously worked in various specialties including pediatrics, pain managemnet and internal medicine. She oversees allpatient services across Elite's departments.