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April is National Parkinson's Awareness Month

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April is Parkinson’s disease awareness month.  Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurological disorder, after Alzheimer’s.  As many as 1 million Americans live with Parkinson’s disease with men facing nearly twice the risk of developing the condition as women.  And like Alzheimer’s, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is characterized by tremors and muscle stiffness.  Like Alzheimer’s disease it worsens over time and also like Alzheimer’s there are no laboratory tests to confirm diagnosis and so patients must rely on a physician to perform neurological exams, observations and family and health history to determine if the symptoms are Parkinson’s or some other disorder.  Early diagnosis is important as the symptoms can often be controlled or lessened.

The cause of Parkinson’s is unknown.  Some scientists think that viruses can trigger it but it may also have genetic or environmental components.  While so little is known about the causes of Parkinson’s, there are studies indicating that moderate exercise and resistance training may be useful in preserving mobility.

For a video on Parkinson’s go here.


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