For the fourth straight year, Congress has officially declared April Parkinson’s Awareness Month. In this regard, let’s talk about Parkinson’s Disease (PD). I’ve been learning a lot more about the condition over the past year, and Kirt and I even attended a Parkinson’s Symposium this past January in Sarasota. I was shocked when over 800 people attended the event. I had no idea so many people were affected by the disease!
Looking at the statistics on PD, it turns out that the disorder affects more people than Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), muscular dystrophy, and multiple sclerosis combined. Some other interesting facts about Parkinson’s include:
- Parkinson’s affects up to 1 million people in the U.S.
- Doctors diagnose as many as 60,000 new cases each year
- Parkinson’s strikes 50 percent more men than women
- The average age of onset is 60
- Early onset PD, beginning before age 50. accounts for 5-10 percent of cases
- 15-25 percent of people with Parkinson’s have a relative with the disease
- Risk for people related to someone with Parkinson’s increases 2-5 percent
- Symptoms of Parkinson’s may progress over a period longer than 20 years
Misconception: PD Only Affects Movement
For most of us who do not have Parkinson’s, we believe that PD only causes movement-related (motor) symptoms such as tremor, stiffness, and slowness.
In Reality: Many symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are unrelated to movement. Nonmotor (“invisible”) symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are common, and may affect everyday life more than the more obvious movement difficulties. These symptoms may include impaired sense of smell, sleep disorders, cognitive symptoms, constipation, bladder symptoms, sweating, sexual dysfunction, fatigue, pain, tingling, lightheadedness, anxiety and depression.
For More Information
- What is Parkinson’s disease?
- What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s
- What causes Parkinson’s?
- Where can I find support?
If you’re looking to answer these questions or more, check out some of these great resources.
Stay happy, healthy, and N motion, AND REMEMBER…age is just a number!