Raise Awareness and Help Advocate
Over the last 25 years there has been a significant increase in the rate of Parkinson’s occurrences worldwide. As prevalence is expected to double by 2040, it is imperative now more than ever to bring awareness to Parkinson’s disease (PD) and help find a cure.
Join the PD community in April to support Parkinson’s Awareness Month, raise awareness, and help advocate to put Parkinsons in the past.
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s is the second most common age-related neurodegenerative disorder affecting over 10 million people worldwide. Parkinson’s occurs when nerve cells (neurons), in the area of the brain that control movement, weaken or die. When this happens, weakened neurons produce less dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for important body functions, memory, pleasurable reward, and motivation.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s usually begin gradually as dopamine levels start to decline and progress over time. Early onset of Parkinson’s includes shaking or tremor, rigid muscles, unsteady balance, difficulty walking, and slowing of body movements. As the disease progresses, it becomes more difficult to talk, chew or swallow, one may experience a decreased ability to smell, mental and behavioral changes, depression, and difficulty with memory.
The exact cause of Parkinson’s remains unknown and there are no biomarkers or screening tests used for early detection or diagnosis. Typically, a diagnosis is made by a neurologist based on a patient’s medical history, a review of signs and symptoms, and a neurological and physical examination. Although the cause of Parkinson’s is unpredictable, there are a combination of genetic factors and environmental exposures that are believed to play a role:
– Age – biggest risk factor for developing PD (average age of onset is 60).
– Gender – males have a 50% higher risk of developing PD than females.
– Head trauma – repeated trauma to the head may increase one’s risk of developing PD.
– Genetics – 10 to 15% of cases may be due to genetic factors resulting in PD.
– Environmental exposures – farming chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, and working with heavy metals may increase one’s risk of developing PD.
While there is no cure, neurologists can recommend medications and other therapies to help relieve symptoms associated with Parkinson’s. The most common medications used to treat Parkinson’s are those formulated to help maintain, replenish, or mimic dopamine and other chemicals in the brain. Physiotherapy including strength, gait and balance training can also help to improve functioning and quality of life.
Dr. James Parkinson
Parkinson’s disease was discovered by Dr. James Parkinson over 200 years ago and is the world’s fastest growing brain disease accounting for 9 million deaths per year. Although it has been over 50 years since the last medical breakthrough in the 1960s, the PD medication pipeline is packed full of medications at various stages of research development. Currently there are a total of 127 active clinical trials investigating numerous symptomatic treatments (ST) and disease modifying treatments (DMT) in hopes to help find a cure, stop, or reverse the progression of Parkinson’s.
On April 11th (the birthday of Dr Parkinson), join Medvantx and the PD community to celebrate World Parkinson’s Day to bring awareness and share advancements in research being made towards better therapies and a cure for Parkinson’s.