Here are ten things you may not know about Parkinson’s disease:
1. It is a disease that occurs in the middle or late life. Its peak age of onset is in the 60s (range is 36 to 86 years).
2. More than one million individuals are afflicted by Parkinson disease in the United States of America.
3. Risk factors for developing Parkinson’s disease are a strong family history of the disease, male gender, head injury, exposure to pesticides, consumption of well water, and rural living.
4. Factors associated with decreased incidence of Parkinson’s disease are coffee drinking, smoking, use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and estrogen replacement treatment in women who are postmenopausal.
5. Tremor (shakes) associated with Parkinson’s disease is most pronounced in the hands. It is most marked at rest and it is typically a ‘pill rolling’ of thumb over fingers.
6. A person with Parkinson’s disease may not have tremor; making diagnosis particularly difficult in such individuals.
7. There is never total paralysis; although this is implied by the name of the disease. It is common to find tremor, rigidity, Brady Kinesis (slowness), and loss of postural reflexes.
8. One-third of all persons affected will eventually develop intellectual deterioration (also known as dementia).
9. Despite the progressive nature of the disease, much can be achieved with good medical management, and sufferers may continue for years to live effective, happy lives in spite of this affliction.
10. An important part of any treatment program is the maintenance of optimum general health and planned exercise program, activity and rest. Formal exercises regulating posture and harmonizing this with mental strength can help mobility enormously- example Chinese qigong.
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