In addition to being Autism Awareness Month, April is also dedicated to raising awareness about Parkinson’s Disease.
Parkinson’s is a chronic, progressive neurological disease that affects movement and coordination. When a person develops Parkinson’s Disease, a specific group of cells in the brain begin to die. These cells produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control how and when a person moves. As dopamine levels decrease, an individual with Parkinson’s Disease will begin to experience a variety of symptoms. While there can be great variation between individuals with Parkinson’s Disease, some of the most common symptoms are:
-Tremors of the limbs, face, and hands
-Rigidity and stiffness
-A slowing of movement
-An impairment of balance and coordination
Parkinson’s can also produce unclear speech, difficulty swallowing, and problems with effective voice production. Speech therapy can help the individual with Parkinson’s disease to remediate these problems by providing the patient with techniques to enhance their ability to speak and/or swallow.
An estimated seven to 10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease. The cause of Parkinson’s is not known and there is currently no cure available. However, research is being conducted every day trying to learn more about this debilitating disease and how we can fight it. To learn more about what you can do and how you can get involved in Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month, visit the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation’s webpage at http://www.pdf.org/en/parkinson_awareness.
If you or a loved one have difficulty with communication, speech, or swallowing, visit us at our website, http://www.speechassociatesofny.com so we can help you get the help you need.