World Parkinson’s Day 2022: Each day, a new game, a new fight
“Once, a patient of mine mentioned ‘Sir James is daily with me’, meaning that each day means a new game or fight with Parkinson’s disease…” – Prof. Heinz Reichmann
Parkinson’s disease is the most rapidly growing neurodegenerative condition around the world. It’s estimated that between 1990 and 2016, the number of people diagnosed rose from 2.5 to 6.1 million people. In the UK, there is a 1 in 37 chance of being diagnosed with Parkinson’s during your lifetime, joining the ~145,000 people currently diagnosed with this debilitating neurological disease.
The unfortunate truth is, as stark as those numbers are, not enough people understand what living with Parkinson’s is really like.
That’s why World Parkinson’s Day is held every year on the 11th of April. To raise awareness and kickstart conversations, highlighting the seriousness of the condition and its symptomatic spectrum. To remind the world that, right now, Parkinson’s cannot be cured. That treatments are still relatively limited (Read: An update on Parkinson’s disease therapy), meaning a multidisciplinary, integrated health care approach is essential to care for those afflicted.
touchNEUROLOGY Editorial Board Member and Professor and Chair at the Department of Neurology, University of Dresden, Heinz Reichmann, insists that a good treatment plan must include the patient, caregiver and an experienced physician:
“In many instances, interdisciplinary approaches are mandatory to provide optimal treatment … physicians may have to work closely with physiotherapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists and social workers to build a good multidisciplinary team.”
The broad lack of public understanding of Parkinson’s disease means support for those suffering from the condition is hampered. With over 40 known symptoms, including stiffness, pain, trouble sleeping and mental health problems, more awareness is needed.
As Prof. Reichmann notes:
“Patients living with Parkinson’s disease start to complain and ask for help to counteract tremor and bradykinesia. Later on, they may require help due to dysbalance, cognitive decline and disturbances of the autonomic nervous system.”
Prof Reichmann also points out that this debilitation extends beyond those with the condition: “In addition, partners and caregivers become highly impaired by this disease.”
So while broadening awareness is vital for encouraging local community support, fairer benefits and increased fundraising, the benefits are felt by caregivers and loved ones in their efforts to care for one of the estimated 9.4 million people living with Parkinson’s Disease.1
In a final word from Prof. Reichmann, “If this is accomplished, optimal patient care will be achieved and be kept under control.”
touchNEUROLOGY is an enthusiastic supporter of World Parkinson’s Day and its goal to help discover more, better treatments and eventually that holy grail: a cure.
You can find out more about the ongoing efforts to treat Parkinson’s by digesting our library of content, including video interviews, conference highlights, journal articles and clinical trial updates.
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