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Raising awareness of Parkinson's Disease

April is Parkinson's Awareness Month. Parkinson's Disease is a brain and neurological disorder that usually progresses slowly. A person diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease may live with the illness for 20 or more years.

Although the average age of onset is 60 years, about 5-10 percent of people develop symptoms of the disease before age 50, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The disease's symptoms could become so limiting that a person may become unable to work near the end of his or her career. In these cases, Social Security Disability may be available.

According to the National Parkinson Foundation, the main symptoms of Parkinson's Disease include:

  • Tremors or shaking
  • Slow movements
  • Stiff or rigid arms, legs or trunk
  • Trouble with balance and falls

There may be many other symptoms, including depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and hallucinations.

Although symptoms become progressively worse, organizations such as the Minnesota chapter of the National Parkinson's Foundation say that it is possible to live well with Parkinson's. During Parkinson's awareness month, advocates for people with Parkinson's raise awareness of the disease and how people can thrive despite the medical condition.

Earlier this month, the Minneapolis City Council proclaimed April as Parkinson's Awareness Month. Supporters of people with Parkinson's marked the month with an event one evening and through other fund raisers. The 35W St. Anthony Falls Bridge in Minneapolis was scheduled to glow blue to mark awareness of the disease, and other events were planned. The awareness month will conclude with a walk on May 3.

Source: For more information on Parkinson's Awareness Month in Minnesota, visit "Online auction, public television premiere, special donors and more highlight Parkinson's Awareness Month activities; You're invited!" the National Parkinson Foundation Minnesota, April 8, 2014

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