World Parkinson's Disease Day: Here Is All You Need To Know
Awareness Of World Parkinson's Disease Day
Every April 11th, World Parkinson's Disease Day raises awareness of chronic and progressive nervous system disorders. This awareness was established by the European Parkinson's Disease Association in 1997 to raise awareness of the disease and its impact on individuals, families, and communities. It's a disease with a progressive neurological disorder affecting millions worldwide. Today's blog will teach us about Parkinson's disease and its related information.
History Of World Parkinson’s Day
Parkinson's disease is named after James Parkinson, an English physician who first described the symptoms in 1817 in his paper "An Essay on the Shaking Palsy." Parkinson provided a detailed description of six patients who had similar symptoms. In the 1980s and 1990s, researchers significantly pushed to develop treatments for Parkinson's disease. The first drug authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating Parkinson's disease was Levodopa, which is currently used. During the 9th World Parkinson's Disease Day Conference in 2005, the red tulip was adopted as the official symbol for the disease.
Goal And Theme Of Awareness
The theme for World Parkinson's Day 2023 is #Take6forPD, indicating that a person receives a Parkinson's disease (PD) diagnosis every six minutes. The goals are,
- To increase awareness of the disease, promote the importance of early detection and ongoing care, and reduce the stigma associated with Parkinson's disease.
- This day allows for educating the public and healthcare professionals about this disease's cause, symptoms, and treatments.
- To promote research into better treatments and a cure for Parkinson's disease. This includes better understanding the underlying causes of the disease, developing new drugs and therapies that can slow or stop its progression, and improving the quality of life.
- In addition, World Parkinson's Disease Day aims to support people with Parkinson's disease and their caregivers, who often face severe difficulties in managing the Parkinson's disease's physical, emotional, and social effects. This includes advocating for access to affordable, high-quality healthcare and providing resources and support services to help people with Parkinson's.
Signs Of Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease symptoms are classified into motor and non-motor-related symptoms.
Motor (Movement) Related
- Bradykinesia refers to slowness and difficulty initiating movement. People with Parkinson's disease may have trouble starting or completing movements due to muscle weakness (control problem).
- Tremor (rhythmic shaking of muscles) is one of the hallmark symptoms of Parkinson's disease; it usually occurs in one hand, arm, or leg. This happens in about 80% of Parkinson's disease cases.
- Postural instability: Parkinson's disease can affect a person's balance and coordination, making them more prone to falls. It’s visible when a person walks because they’ll use shorter, shuffling strides and move their arms less. Turning while walking may take several steps.
- Rigidity (stiffness): Few people may experience a rigidity known as “cogwheel rigidity,” which feels like the muscles are catching or sticking as they are moved.
Non- Motor (Movement) Related
- Dysphagia is a medical condition that refers to difficulty swallowing or the sensation of food or liquids getting stuck in the throat or chest. This is caused by several components, such as reduced saliva production, cognitive changes, and delayed gastric emptying.
- Hypophonia (Unusually soft speaking voice) in Parkinson's disease can cause changes in a person's speech, making it softer or slurred, and their handwriting may become smaller or more difficult to read.
- Drooling and infrequent blinking are due to loss of facial muscle control.
Stages Of Parkinson's Disease
- Stage 1: It is the mildest form of Parkinson's. At this stage, tremors and other symptoms, such as changes in facial expression, posture, or walking, occur only on one side of the body.
- Stage 2: This stage is considered a moderated form where tremors, rigidity, and other movement symptoms begin to affect both sides of the body. Activities of day-to-day living may become more difficult.
- Stage 3: This is the middle stage of Parkinson’s; the person may struggle to maintain balance and perform daily tasks independently. Falls become more common at this stage.
- Stage 4: It is the advanced stage form, where the person may require assistance with daily activities. They may still be able to stand and walk but may need a walker or other assistive device.
- Stage 5: This stage is the most severe stage, where the person is typically unable to stand or walk without assistance. They may require round-the-clock care and may experience hallucinations or delusions.
Myths And Facts
Myth: Parkinson's disease only affects older people.
Fact: Parkinson's disease is more prevalent in older adults, but it can affect people of any age, including young adults and children.
Myth: Parkinson's disease is caused by pesticide exposure.
Fact: Exposure to certain pesticides is linked with an increased risk of Parkinson's disease; the exact cause of this disease is yet to be understood. Multiple factors are likely involved, including genetics, environmental factors, and other factors that can increase the risk of Parkinson's disease.
Myth: Parkinson's disease is contagious.
Fact: Parkinson's disease is not contagious and cannot be transmitted from person to person through casual contact.
Myth: Parkinson's disease is always inherited.
Fact: Genetics can play a role in the development of Parkinson's disease; most cases are not directly inherited. Only a small percentage of cases are caused by specific genetic mutations, while most cases are caused by a combination of genetic with environmental factors.
Myth: Parkinson's disease is fatal.
Fact: Parkinson's disease is a chronic condition that can remarkably affect the quality of life, but it is not typically fatal. However, complications from Parkinson's disease, such as pneumonia or other infections, can be life-threatening.
Myth: Parkinson's disease only affects movement.
Fact: While motor symptoms like tremors and rigidity primarily characterize Parkinson's disease, they can also affect other aspects of a person's health, including cognitive function, mood, and sleep.
How To Raise Awareness Among Everyone
Spreading awareness about Parkinson's disease is crucial. Here are some ways to spread awareness on World Parkinson's Day 2023.
- Social media: Sharing information about World Parkinson's Disease Day on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Using hashtags such as #WorldParkinsonsDay or #ParkinsonsAwareness will help spread the message more quickly.
- Media outreach: Reach out to media outlets, such as newspapers, television, radio, and other articles, to share information about World Parkinson's Disease Day and the impact of the disease on individuals and families.
- Community events: Organize marathons or educational seminars to raise awareness. These events can help increase public awareness and support for people with Parkinson's.
"Parkinson's is a thief. It steals your body, your mind, and your soul. But it can't steal your spirit. That's something you have to give away willingly."
According to a recent study, an estimated 7 million older people live with Parkinson's disease in India. On this World Parkinson's Disease Day, let us remember the millions of people worldwide living with Parkinson's disease and the challenges they face each day. Let us unite in the fight against Parkinson's disease by raising awareness and advocating for better treatments and support for those affected. Together, we can change things and improve life for those with Parkinson's disease. By uniting in the fight against Parkinson's disease, we can fight to eliminate the sickness from society in the future.