This year World Parkinson’s Day marks 200 years since Parkinson’s was first recognised as a medical condition and yet, according to a survey in 2009, over 50% of us don’t know Parkinson’s is a neurological condition which affects movement. And over 75% of people surveyed did not know that rigidity, in which a person is unable to move their body (or certain body parts) is a key motor symptom of this disease.
Why does this matter? Well, recognising signs and symptoms obviously helps with diagnosis, it helps affected people realise they need to see a GP instead of just brushing things off and greater understanding of anything hopefully leads to less stigma.
One person in every 500 has Parkinson’s. That’s about 127,000 people in the UK.
Symptoms and how quickly they progress are different for everyone. There’s currently no cure, but drugs and treatments are available to manage many of the symptoms.
One myth about Parkinson’s is that it only affects old people. Whilst most people who get it are over 50, younger people can get it too.
The symptoms most people associate with Parkinson’s are tremors, rigidity and slowness of movement. But, did you know that it can also cause tiredness, pain, depression, issues with swallowing, eye problems and much more?
As with any life changing condition, Parkinson’s will affect more than just the person diagnosed. It will impact on their partner, their children, their friends etc. A wife, husband or other significant person may find themselves taking on the role of a carer. This can be hard for both the carer and the person being cared for.
Whilst my own experience of illness and care is very different to that of someone living with Parkinson’s, I know that adjusting to a disability or long term illness is a process. And finding you can no longer do everything for yourself is hard to face. In terms of friends, you may be unable to do some of the things you used to and thus your friends will navigate the changing nature of your relationship with you.
Parkinson’s UK has lots of useful information, including a section on relationships.
Get involved online through social media:
- Use the hashtag #UniteForParkinsons on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any social channel.
- Use the #UniteForParkinsons image or Twibbon on your social profiles.
- Encourage your friends and followers to get involved too.
- Share a message about why you’re uniting for Parkinson’s.