April is Parkinson's Awareness Month!

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April is Parkinson's Awareness Month!
Mon, 04-02-2012 - 10:46am


April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month. Communities nationwide are participating in local fundraising events to raise awareness of this chronic and progressive movement disorder that involves the malfunction and death of vital nerve cells in the brain, called neutrons.

There are an estimated seven to 10 million people worldwide with this disease. In the United States, as many as one million individuals live with PD, which is more than the combined number of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and Lou Gehrig’s disease. Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with PD each year, and this number does not reflect the thousands of cases that go undetected.

Incidence of Parkinson’s increases with age, but an estimated four percent of people with PD are diagnosed before the age of 50. PD shows no favoritism, people from all walks of life are diagnosed yearly.

One famous name that brought attention to Parkinson’s is Michael J. Fox; diagnosed at age 30 after noticing a small, persistent twitch in his hand. Michaels’s celebrity status made him a famous advocate, speaking before Congress in 1998 and establishing the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in 2000, which has rasied $285 million and brought worldwide attention to this debilitating condition that affects millions.

What Causes Parkinson’s?

The cause of Parkinson’s is unknown, however scientists and researchers are working diligently to uncover the possible cause(s), including genetic and environmental factors. There is no standard test to conclusively show if a person has Parkinson’s disease.

Raising Awareness of Parkinson’s is the theme for April. The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation offers five easy ways to spread the word this month.

5 Easy Ways to Spread the Word

• Hang a flyer or poster in your workplace or office.

• Change your Facebook profile picture.

• Write a letter to the editor of your local paper.

• Sign the Global Parkinson’s Pledge.

• Send an Awareness eCard.

They also offer tips on passing the word to public officials

• Coordinate with others in the community.

• Invite other local Parkinson’s organizations and prominent individuals to join you in submitting the request.

• Send your request on the letterhead of one organization and include the signatures of coalition members.