April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness month. As a person with Parkinson’s disease, I would like to call attention to this second-most common neurological disease in the U.S.
Parkinson’s is a progressive chronic disease for which there is no cure. Symptoms vary in each individual, but commonly include a resting tremor, lack of arm swing with walking, stiffness, shuffling and slowness. Non-motor signs include anxiety and depression, lack of smell, pain, constipation, urinary frequency and fatigue. Although a person may not have much expression on his face and is unable to speak loudly enough to be heard, this does not mean that he is impaired cognitively, though that may happen also. But please don’t assume that cognition is impaired. It is important for individuals to be diagnosed early if they have signs of the disease. Although there is no cure, life can be enhanced by exercise and the proper medical treatments. I urge you to talk to your legislators about supporting research for new treatments and ultimately for a cure for this difficult affliction.