April marks a special time of the year to raise awareness of a disease that affects thousands of Hoosiers, and hundreds of new Hoosiers each year. April is National Parkinson's Awareness Month and the Indiana Parkinson Foundation (IPF) is taking this time to acknowledge Hoosiers living with Parkinson's and thanking their caregivers and supports, while urging the community to move toward a cure.
"Currently, there is no cure for Parkinson's Disease (Parkinson's)," said Yolanda Wide, executive director, IPF. "However, while we are believing for a cure, we work daily to improve the physical, mental and spiritual lives of Hoosiers living with Parkinson's. Through research we know the best therapy for those with Parkinson's is movement, which is why The Climb exercise program was created. At the end of this month, we hope all Hoosiers have a better understanding of Parkinson's and what they can do to help us move toward a cure."
Parkinson's is a movement disorder caused by the loss of dopamine producing brain cells, so it is a neurological disorder. Approximately 50,000 people are diagnosed with Parkinson's in the United States each year, and the average age of onset Parkinson's is 60, however, 5-10 percent of patients are diagnosed with early onset of the disease before age 50.
Parkinson's itself is not fatal, however, the symptoms (uncontrollable movement and muscle stiffness) can increase over time, making for a poor quality of life. Two of the biggest supporters of a cure for Parkinson's are Michael J. Fox and the late Muhammad Ali. Both used their celebrity to raise awareness, dispel myths and encourage support from others.
To learn more about Parkinson's Disease, The Climb, make a donation or volunteer, log onto www.indianaparkinson.org.