World Parkinson’s Day- Raising Awareness for a Degenerative Disease

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Today, April 11, is World Parkinson’s Disease Day 2012. This international event, supported by the European Parkinson’s Disease Association (EPDA) aims to raise awareness about the reality of Parkinson’s disease.

The EPDA estimates that there are more than 1.2 million people with Parkinson’s disease in the EU. Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition that is considered a motor system disorder. A fully functioning brain produces dopamine which helps produce fluid muscle movement. For people with Parkinson’s, nearly 80 percent of the cells that produce dopamine are dead or damaged.

People with Parkinson’s experience both motor and non-motor symptoms. The disease affects an individual’s ability to control bodily movements which results in tremors, impaired balance, stiffness of the limbs, or slowness of movement. Non-motor effects include difficulty achieving REM sleep, depression, attention deficit, and the inability to carry out ordinary tasks.

There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, according to the Mayo Clinic for Medical Education and Research, medication for the treatment of the disorder can lead to impulse control problems, such as compulsive overeating or gambling. People with Parkinson’s make the difficult decision to either endure loss of motor control or medicate and be at risk for developing psychological problems.

For this year’s World Parkinson’s Disease Day, the EPDA, UCB, and other Parkinson’s organizations  will be introducing the Parkinson’s Well-Being Map, a tool to help patients easily monitor and track their symptoms over time.

For World Parkinson’s Disease Day, Parkinson’s Voices, a subset of UCB, is leading the ‘Today I Will’ movement on their website. Taking the pledge gives people the opportunity to both showcase their support for people with Parkinson’s and make the most out of today and the future.

So on World Parkinson’s Disease Day, make your pledge as part of the ‘Today I Will’ campaign and spread the word about this degenerative disease.

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