Over 100,000 Canadians are living with Parkinson’s disease today and approximately 6,600 new cases are diagnosed each year in Canada.
The City of Trail is recognizing this incurable neurodegenerative disease this month — April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month — with an informative display in the public library, set up by the local support group.
As well, the Victoria Street Bridge will be illuminated in magenta and teal lights on Monday, April 11 in recognition of World Parkinson’s Day.
Anyone struggling with this diagnosis is encouraged to contact the Trail-Castlegar Parkinson Support group at 250.367.9258 (Patti) or 250.368.6864 (Barb). In-person support meetings have resumed on the third Tuesday of each month at the Colander Restaurant in downtown Trail.
Every year, Parkinson Society British Columbia dedicates the month of April to raising awareness of the unique experiences of people living with the disease. Parkinson’s Awareness Month is an opportunity to engage the public in expanding their understanding of Parkinson’s, and the profound effects it has on the lives of over 15,000 British Columbians living with the disease.
“This April, we want to spread the message that Parkinson’s is more than a tremor,” the society says. “The disease can affect all aspects of one’s life, and there is currently no known cure.”
This year, the provincial campaign is highlighting personal journeys shared by people with Parkinson’s, their families, and care partners; the importance of living well with Parkinson’s, through self-management, self-reliance, and self-advocacy; and how community ties and peer support bring together the Parkinson’s community across B.C.
Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder of the brain.
Movement is normally controlled by dopamine, a chemical that carries signals between the nerves in the brain. When cells that normally produce dopamine die, Parkinson symptoms appear.
Most common symptoms include tremor, slowness and stiffness, impaired balance, and rigidity of muscles.
Fatigue, soft speech, problems with handwriting, stooped posture, and sleep disturbances may also present in the patient.
A diagnosis of Parkinson’s can take time.
A family doctor might notice it first. The patient will likely be referred to a neurologist, a specialist who deals with the condition.
There are no x-rays or tests to confirm the disease, so the neurologist will check medical histories, conduct a physical examination and order certain tests to rule out other conditions which may resemble Parkinson’s.
Symptoms and progression will vary person to person.
Certain medications are used to treat the disease, though various therapies such as physical, occupational, exercise and speech therapies often help manage the symptoms.