World Parkinson’s Day – Wednesday April 11 – Understanding The Disease

Fraser Valley – Every Year, April 11 is set aside for World Parkinson’s Day.

It’s what affects Michael J. Fox. Ozzy Osbourne has a similar syndrome. Closer to home, CKNW Vancouver Program Director Larry Gifford has a blog called “When Life Gives You Parkinson’s”.

From Parkinson’s Canada, What is the disease?

Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disease. Movement is normally controlled by dopamine, a chemical that carries signals between the nerves in the brain. When cells that normally produce dopamine die, the symptoms of Parkinson’s appear.

Most common symptoms
  • Tremor
  • Slowness and stiffness
  • Impaired balance
  • Rigidity of the muscles
Other symptoms
  • Fatigue
  • Soft speech
  • Problems with handwriting
  • Stooped posture
  • Constipation
  • Sleep disturbances

A diagnosis of Parkinson’s can take time. A family doctor might notice it first. You may be referred to a neurologist – a specialist who deals with Parkinson’s. There are no x-rays or tests to confirm Parkinson’s. So the neurologist will check your medical history, do a careful physical examination and certain tests, and rule out other conditions which may resemble Parkinson’s.

Currently there is no cure. You can live with Parkinson’s for years. The symptoms are treated with medication. Some people with Parkinson’s may benefit from surgery.

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