What is Parkinson’s disease? It is a chronic and progressive movement disorder that involves the malfunction of vital nerve cells in the brain. It is not contagious and not fatal. It is thought to be genetic in a very small percentage of cases. Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are caused by the progressive degeneration of nerve cells in the middle area of the brain. This causes a lack of dopamine, a chemical messenger (neurotransmitter) necessary for smooth, controlled movements. The symptoms appear when about 70 per cent of the dopamine-producing cells have stopped working normally. Parkinson’s disease cannot be cured, but the symptoms can be managed. With a combination of medication and multidisciplinary support, people with Parkinson’s disease can live independent and productive lives.
It is estimated that approximately four people per 1,000 in Australia have Parkinson’s disease, with the incidence increasing to one in 100 over the age of 60. In Australia, there are approximately 80,000 people living with Parkinson’s disease, with one in five of these people being diagnosed before the age of 50. On average, 37 new cases are diagnosed every day.
The type, number, severity and progression of Parkinson’s disease symptoms vary greatly. Every person is affected differently. Some of the main symptoms are:
- Tremor (shaking)
- Rigidity (muscle stiffness)
- Bradykinesia (slowness of movement)
- Freezing (experiencing a sudden inability to move)
- Stooped posture
- Shuffling gait
- Micrographia (small handwriting)
- Sleep disturbance
- Loss of sense of smell
- Blood pressure fluctuation
April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, and Medsana Medical Clinic would like to promote greater awareness of how Parkinson’s affects those living with the disease, and their families. To get involved with Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month, individuals can donate to the Parkinson’s Foundation to support research and programs, participate in an event, or share their/other’s stories on social media using #Plan4PD. Visit https://www.parkinson.org/parkinsons-awareness-month for more information.
Awareness is the first step in my #Plan4PD to improve care and advance research towards a cure. There are many ways to plan no matter how Parkinson’s disease affects you and your family. It is important to note that there are companies and organisations to assist in planning and caring for your loved ones.
Medsana Medical Clinic would like to promote Body Refinery at New Farm and Wellers Hill Physiotherapy as both companies conduct programs called PD Warriors; to better the lives of those suffering from Parkinson’s disease. PD Warrior is an advanced exercise program that incorporates physical and cognitive activity for people in the early stages of Parkinson’s. PD Warrior was developed, and continues to evolve, with the most recent evidence, that is revolutionising how neurologists and health professionals manage Parkinson’s. In light of COVID-19, they are still providing 1:1 sessions.
Together, we can all create more awareness of this progressive, degenerative neurological condition and help those suffering and their families.
*Special shoutout to Luiseach Walsh from Body Refinery; whose care and expertise we have experienced firsthand*
For more information on PD Warriors at Wellers Hill Physiotherapy, please call Wellers Hill Physiotherapy on (07) 3892 7501 or see their website at https://www.wellershillphysio.com.au/conditions-we-treat/pd-warrior-parkinsons-exercise-program/
For more information on the PD Warriors at The Body Refinery, please call (07) 3358 3915 or see their website at https://www.thebodyrefinery.com.au/services/physiotherapy/