Know the Signs: April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month

Nearly one million people in the United States, and more than 10 million people worldwide live with Parkinson’s disease according to the Parkinson’s Foundation.

Symptoms can include: tremor or slight shaking in fingers, thumb, hand or chin – not related to stress, medication or strenuous exercise; struggles with sleep, walking or general movement; loss of smell; constipation; fainting or dizziness; a change in handwriting style or vocal levels; and poor posture with prominent stooping.

Once diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, it is important to work with a primary physician to develop a plan: a potential referral to a neurologist, occupational/physical/speech therapy and regular exercise to help delay some symptoms. Developing a strong support network of family and friends is also a positive step toward life with Parkinson’s.

Memorial Health supports programming throughout our 16-county service area to help Parkinson’s patients stay active.

  • Decatur Memorial Hospital houses Memorial Therapy Care, which offers LSVT LOUD (evidence-based speech pathology voice therapy) for Parkinson’s patients. The Decatur Family YMCA also offers Pedaling for Parkinson’s.
  • Go Steady Program at Taylorville YMCA. While not designed specifically for Parkinson’s patients, the program does target individuals with balance or fall issues, which are symptoms of Parkinson’s.
  • Memorial Care on Koke Mill offers LSVT LOUD and BIG therapy and also partners with SIU School of Medicine for the Deep Brain Stimulation Clinic (DBS).
  • Rocky Steady Boxing is offered at the Bob Freesen YMCA in Jacksonville, the Kerasotes YMCA in Springfield and Taylorville YMCA. This program empowers people with Parkinson’s disease to fight back through a non-contact, boxing-style fitness regimen that includes emotional support.

Additional Questions? Speak with your primary care provider or find a doctor to discuss symptoms and management of Parkinson’s disease: