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National Parkinson’s Disease Day

Today, the 11th of April, marks National Parkinson’s Disease Day. This initiative was instituted by the European Parkinson’s Disease Association (EPDA) on the anniversary of the English physician who first described the disease in 1817, James Parkinson.

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic disease that affects the nervous system and body movement, resulting in various signs and symptoms, such as tremors, stiffness, slowing of body movements, postural instability, and gait changes. Since there is great variability in the progression of the disease, another type of symptom may be associated with its evolution.

This disease affects approximately 1% of the world’s population over the age of 65, and symptoms begin in most cases in those over 55. Aging is, therefore, the main known risk factor for the onset of Parkinson’s disease, and in only 5 to 10% of cases, there is an identified genetic cause (familial cases) (APDP, 2014).

Not neglecting its prevalence and the impact on the autonomy of the elderly population, which is estimated to be relevant, in ADR, Parkinson’s Disease appears among one of the main causes of death among mental and behavioral disorders, corresponding to 10 deaths/100 thousand inhabitants in 2020 (INE, 2022).

Be aware, say, experts, of the most common symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, and if you detect them, seek immediate medical help. Pharmacological treatment and adequate rehabilitation make it possible to partly control the symptoms and strengthen the autonomy of people living with this disease.

In the management of this disease, the role of caregivers and society as a whole is highlighted, to create environments and conditions that promote the adaptation and social integration of sufferers.

Samantha Gannon

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