Throughout the month of April, events are scheduled worldwide to raise awareness of Parkinson's to raise funds for research into better treatments and to work towards a cure.
More than 80,000 Australian's have been diagnosed with Parkinson's and it can affect people of all ages and backgrounds. Possible causes include genetic changes, oxidative stress, environment changes or a combination of these factors.
Parkinson's is a progressive neurological condition where dopamine, a neurotransmitter, is not produced at adequate levels in the brain.
Dopamine plays an important role in controlling movement in the body.
Symptom's of Parkinson's include muscle rigidity, tremor, postural instability, and slowness of movement. Parkinson's can also cause pain, sensory changes, depression, memory loss and disrupted sleep.
The rate of progression varies significantly among those diagnosed with Parkinson's and there is currently no cure. There are a number of different treatments however, including:
- Oral medications
- Advanced therapy medications given by injection or by tube
- Surgery that involves deep brain stimulation
- Occupational Therapy
- Speech Pathology
- Nutrition and Dietetics
It is recommended that people living with Parkinson's keep physically, mentally and socially active.
The Southern Highlands is fortunate to have a local group dedicated to keeping locals with Parkinson's active. The 'Prancing for Parkinson's' classes focus on flexibility, mobility, rhythm and balance in a friendly and social environment. The class consists of both men and women who benefit greatly from participating. The classes run each Thursday at the Bowral Baptist Church hall in Merrigang Street.
For more information about Parkinson's or to make a donation towards research, please visit the Parkinson's Australia website: www.parkinsons.org.au. To learn more about Prancing for Parkinson's, please call Margaret on 4861 2294.