Sunday, 12 March 2017

World Parkinson's Awareness Day #UniteForParkinsons

Tuesday 11 April, 2017 marks the 200th year since Parkinsons has become a recognised health condition. Major Parkinsons' organisations around the world will unite to create impact so amazing that people will stop and learn more about Parkinsons and what it is, the early signs and what the symptoms are. Why is it important? 
Young Onset Parkinsons disease. Parkinsons can affect anyone at any age and people in their early twenties have been diagnosed with Pd. I was diagnosed at 46, it was very straight forward, I was in the specialists room for about 10 minutes and was told very bluntly - textbook case, idiopathic Parkinsons disease, you didn't search Dr Google? I will give you a book that explains it. Do you think I got the book? 
My world was turned upside down. I was healthy, just a bit stiffer than I used to be,  and there was something about my walking that was a bit odd, the loss of dexterity was weird to me as I had used my hands to sew patchwork and stitch embroidery for many years. The biggest sign which actually scared me the most was the fact that both my hands wouldn't move on command, the right hand did what I wanted and the left hand was not participating like it was supposed to. Having no previous knowledge of Parkinsons I didn't realise that what was happening...when walking my left arm was not swinging and my left foot was not stepping correctly so the heel was dragging. Since then, gait training and medication has helped get my swing back and my foot lifting properly most times except for when the medication has worn off or when tiredness is a factor. Tremor is there too, it is called a resting tremor, isn't that fun? So when resting that's when the shakes can come, not good when trying to get to sleep. Not everyone has the shakes and medication can help alleviate this symptom. Relax...easier said than done. 
Medication on time, every time. In some cases when people with Parkinsons go to hospital their medication is taken off them and dispensed at the hospitals' regular medication time. This is horrific for people with pd whose medication is at specific times, most people with pd can feel the medication wearing off at least 30 minutes before the next dose is due. Education in hospitals is vital.
Moving strangely. People with Parkinsons can move a bit oddly, extra movement is called dyskinesia. I have friends who say they can't walk in a crowded space without whacking people with an uncontrollable arm. Likewise the foot won't do what is taken for granted, just step, it looks unbelievable.  A dear friend had dyskinesia so bad she would fall off a chair very easily. Imagine that. Control is gone. Rigidity and Bradykinesia or slowness of movement is another symptom, it feels like moving through thick mud when doing automatic tasks. 

Why is WPAD important? 

We need greater understanding of this complex health condition that affects so many in our communities world wide. 

Look at the website for information and printable materials, use #UniteForParkinsons in social media

I didn't get the book but I hope you get the message. 

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