Each year, approximately 90,000 people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and that number is expected to grow to 1.2 million by 2030 (www.Parkinson.org).
PD is a progressive disease that affects the nervous system. The cause is unknown. Although, there are some factors that appear to play a role:
- Gender: it is more common in men.
- Previous head injury.
There is no definitive diagnostic test and signs of the disease can vary from person to person. Symptoms may include:
- A tremor or rhythmic shaking (often on one side of the body) slowed movement.
- Posture and balance issues.
- Stiffened muscles, difficulties with speech – like talking softly or slurring words and lack of facial expressions.
- Depression and anxiety.
As the disease progresses, challenges may occur with thinking. Eating/swallowing may be difficult. Incontinence and sleep disorders may also occur. However, many of these symptoms can be treated with medication.
Because there is no known cause for Parkinson’s, there are no proven ways to prevent it.
However, slowing the progression may be possible with diet and regular exercise that focuses on aerobics and stretching. Also, your doctor may recommend physical, occupational and/or speech therapy to provide support and expertise in symptom management.