Help put those with Parkinson’s back #incontrol
So a bit of a different post from me today. I’m going to talk (write?!) a little bit about Parkinson’s Awareness Week. Parkinson’s is a condition very close to my heart and this week is so important in raising awareness of this condition and putting sufferers back #incontrol
Parkinson’s is a condition which occurs when nerve cells in the brain die. These nerve cells are needed to create the chemical dopamine. Dopamine sends signals from the brain around the body allowing you to speak and move the way you want to. Without dopamine you lose control of simple speech and movement, which can result in the hand tremors most commonly associated with Parkinson’s.
However, the symptoms of Parkinson’s are usually far more extensive than a tremor in the hand. Often those with Parkinson’s find it hard to swallow and speak, and also find that their bodies completely seize up at times, leaving them unable to move at all. There are also many other physical and mental symptoms which can cause distress and frustration for sufferers. I mean, imagine how you’d feel if you couldn’t do the simplest things you’ve spent the majority of your life completely able to do?
This year’s Parkinson’s Awareness Week is all about giving people back control as well as letting others know some of the struggles people with Parkinson’s face every day.
Parkinson’s UK have highlighted 5 of the main ways that people with Parkinson’s are robbed of control (however every person is affected differently, which is why it such a difficult condition to treat and understand):
1) You can freeze on the spot
Sometimes people with Parkinson’s can seize up and freeze completely. They literally cannot move, and this can make balance difficult too.
2) You can lose the ability to communicate
Parkinson’s weakens the vocal muscles, making it difficult for some people to talk louder than a whisper and it can also make facial muscles freeze so they cannot smile or show their emotions very well.
3) Eating and drinking can be painfully slow and difficult
Sometimes problems with swallowing and the movements required for eating can mean that it takes a person with Parkinson’s longer to eat their food.
4) Your muscles can get so stiff it’s hard to even move
This can make even the simplest tasks, like doing up buttons, difficult and take longer. This can be frustrating and also prompt behavioural changes to avoid facing certain situations.
5) You can get very ill if you don’t get your medication on time
Parkinson’s is treated with a variety of different medicines which have to be taken at specific times a day. If not taken on time, a person can become very ill and their symptoms can get out of control.
So there you go – a few of the ways which people with Parkinson’s face difficulties every day. One of the key things I have learnt about how to cope with, and help those with Parkinson’s get back #incontrol is to – in the words of Take That – just have a little patience. Whilst it may be frustrating for the pace of life to go a little slower than you’d like, it is 100 times worse for the person who can’t control this. It must be even more stressful and upsetting to have people judge and draw attention to any difficulties you are experiencing too. As the Parkinson’s UK posters state – stress makes it worse, so have a bit of patience and understanding and help give people back some control.
There are lots of events going on this week to help build awareness of Parkinson’s. You can find out more on the Parkinson’s UK website – www.parkinsons.org.uk – where you can also donate money to the charity to help aid research and treatments and help find a cure.
xx emsypickle xx
P.S – I definitely don’t claim to know everything about Parkinson’s or what those with Parkinson’s go through. I am purely drawing from mine and my family’s knowledge and experience of this condition.