Recently, people across Australia and around the world took a day to remember the people affected by Parkinson's disease – a disorder of the central nervous system affecting people's abilities to control their body movements. World Parkinson's Day is an annual event on April 11 aimed at raising awareness of the condition and money to help find a cure. This debilitating disorder affects tens of thousands of Australians and is close to the hearts of many people across the country.
This year, as part of World Parkinson's Day, Wilson Medic One is giving you a brief overview of the condition, how it affects people, and what you can do to help.
A tragically common condition
While not as prominent as cancer, stroke or heart disease, Parkinson's disease is a significant feature in the lives of people across Australia. Recent research cited by Parkinson's Australia indicates that as many as 110,000 people in the country may be living with Parkinson's disease, or one in every 340 people. As of 2014, the prevalence of Parkinson's was higher in the population than many cancers, including breast, colorectal, stomach, cervical and lung cancer, as well as lymphoma and leukaemia.
The nature of Parkinson's as a slow, debilitating condition that attacks the ability to control the body, with dementia a common complication in advanced stages of the disease, means that management of the disease is extremely expensive, with lifetime financial costs exceeding the average financial cost of cancer. With prevalence tripling after the age of 65, demographers and medical experts are concerned about a soaring number of cases as Australia's population ages.
Searching for the cure
Fortunately, more and more people and organisations are looking to contribute to the fight against Parkinson's, many rallying around World Parkinson's Day. Launched by the Shake It Up Australia Foundation in partnership with The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF), interested businesses and individuals were encourage to host events to raise awareness and funds for the organisation. It's okay if you can't manage April 11 – Shake It Up Australia encourages events to be held throughout the month to ensure that people hear the message loud and clear.
If you'd like to host your own event, visit the Pause 4 Parkinson's page on the Shake It Up website and make a difference with your friends and co-workers this year.