Letter: April is Parkinson’s Disease awareness monthApril is Parkinson’s Disease awareness month. With nearly 1.5 million Americans affected by Parkinson’s, it is the second-most common neurodegenerative disease in the United States, second only to Alzheimer’s.
To the editor,
April is Parkinson’s Disease awareness month. With nearly 1.5 million Americans affected by Parkinson’s, it is the second-most common neurodegenerative disease in the United States, second only to Alzheimer’s. While research suggests the cause is a combination of environmental and genetic factors, it’s uncertain why some people get Parkinson’s, and why family members, exposed to the same things, don’t.
Parkinson’s is also quite hard to diagnose. Some people may experience issues with balance, tremors and rigidity, while others may start out with depression or problems sleeping before having more physical symptoms.
Prescribed medicines only control Parkinson’s – they don’t slow it down, they simply mask what is going on – and often with negative side effects. And while drugs have improved a bit over the years, they typically lose their effectiveness 4 to 8 years after you start taking them.
Odds are you know someone affected by Parkinson’s, and you’ve probably heard about actor Michael J. Fox’s personal battle against the disease. Several of my family members have dealt with, and are currently living with Parkinson’s, so I’m doing what I can to raise awareness.
If you’d like to get more involved in the war on Parkinson’s Disease, or if you may be experiencing symptoms, I encourage you to visit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research at www.MichaelJFox.org. Thank you for helping to make this terrible disease a thing of the past.