Parkinson's Awareness Month 2023
To coincide with World Parkinson's Day, Parkinson's Awareness Month is an awareness initiative held in Canada and the United States each year (other countries may also support this event).
In Canada, the major supporting organization for this event is Parkinson Society Canada, and, in the United States, it is the American Parkinson Disease Association.
Raising public awareness about Parkinson's disease is very important. Although there are no official statistics, Parkinson's disease is thought to affect over 1,000,000 people in the United States.
In 2010, April was designated Parkinson's Awareness Month by the United States Senate. By designating Parkinson's Awareness Month a national event, it is hoped that this observance will lead to more media coverage which in turn will gather further support for those affected.
Whilst people may have heard of Parkinson's disease, many know little or nothing about the condition and how affects a person and their friends and family.
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative condition and after Alzheimer's is the second most common disease in the United States. Neurodegnerative is a term which refers to a progressive loss of nerve cells (neurons) and/or their function. Neurodegeneration from Parkinson's disease can give rise to a wide spectrum of symptoms; symptoms can vary widely between people in terms of their type and severity.
Symptoms of Parkinson's disease include:
- difficulties with balance, swallowing, chewing and speaking
- sleep disruption
- psychological issues including problems with cognition, anxiety and depression
One of the most noticeable symptoms of Parkinson's disease is tremor in which the body makes involuntary quivering movements. As the disease progresses, symptoms can worsen. For example, over time a person may not be able to move, speak or swallow. This can often arise 4-8 years after the initial onset of Parkinson's disease.
The Parkinson's Unity Walk Logo
The cause of Parkinson's disease is unknown and there are no known successful treatments which can delay or stop its progression. To further complicate matters, the symptoms of Parkinson's disease may be mistaken for another condition. As Parkinson's disease is so prevalent in society, Parkinson's Disease Awareness Month help support those affected by the disease whilst encouraging further research into finding a cure or adequate treatment.
Sponsored Walks Are A Feature Of This Awareness Event
Designated by the US Senate, Parkinson's Unity Walk is an annual gathering held on a weekend day in April each year. People in the Parkinson's community meet in New York's Central Park and complete a 1.4mile walk to inspire and support those affected by Parkinson's disease (which includes friends and family).
Much of the money raised from Parkinson's disease charities goes towards finding a cure or adequate treatments for this condition. All of the money raised from the Unity Walk goes to the major Parkinson's disease foundations for Parkinson's disease research.
For more information visit the Parkinson's Unity Walk & Parkinson's Awareness Month websites.