Thanks to Kitsi, one of the Go-Getters in the Parkinson's awareness movement in the Denver area, for creating the following:
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a chronic degenerative neurological disorder that affects an estimated 1.5 million people in the U.S. and 7 to 10 million worldwide. At present, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease and 50,000 - 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the U.S.
Myth - PD is preventable.
Researchers have not identified the exact cause of the disease. Without this information, preventing it is impossible. Most believe that PD is caused by a combination of a genetic predisposition and environmental factors.
Myth – Only old people get Parkinson’s.
Parkinson’s affects about 1% of people are 65, and 10% of people age 80 or older. The average age of onset is around 60 years of age. However, 10%-20% of those diagnosed with Parkinson's disease are under age 50, and about half of those are diagnosed before age 40.
Myth - Parkinson’s causes the shakes.
Although tremors are the most common symptoms of PD and are found in approximately 70 percent of people with Parkinson’s, 15-25 percent do not experience any form of tremors at all.
Myth - People with Parkinson's are grumpy.
The public often perceives PD patients as being stupid, rude or miserable. As the disease progresses, people with PD develop problems with speech, swallowing, drooling, and facial expressions, impairing their ability to communicate with others.
Myth - Parkinson’s only affects movement.
While movement-related (motor) symptoms such as tremor, stiffness and slowness are readily observed with PD, many symptoms of PD are unrelated to movement. Non-motor symptoms are common, and may affect everyday life even more than the more obvious movement difficulties. These symptoms may include impaired sense of smell, sleep disorders, cognitive symptoms, constipation, bladder symptoms, sweating, sexual dysfunction, fatigue, pain, tingling, lightheadedness, anxiety and depression.
Myth – Parkinson’s causes death.
Parkinson’s has not been proven to be fatal although people with PD do have special health concerns.
Parkinson’s Disease progresses differently in each person. Not everyone experiences all of the same symptoms or the same severity of symptoms.
Medication, regular exercise and dietary considerations allow most people with Parkinson’s live independent, productive lives.