Parkinson’s 101

April 19, 2023

Recently, our team at Sunways completed a certification on Parkinson’s Disease. We are grateful to learn from some of the experts in the field- Dr. London Butterfield, Dr. Heather Herrema, and Dr. Dean Sutherland. We’ve worked with people who are impacted by this disease and we have seen how difficult it is to live with and manage this disease. 

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, and we are dedicated to spreading awareness

What is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system that affects motor function. Dopamine-producing cells within the brain die, resulting in movement problems. We still do not know why these cells begin to die. 

What is the main risk factor associated with developing PD? 

Most people with the disease begin to notice symptoms around the age of 60, but about 5-10% of cases begin as “early-onset” in people as young as 50. Although there is a small genetic component associated with PD, most researchers believe it is a result of a combination of environmental factors, such as exposure to toxins. For this reason, PD is incredibly complex.

What are the symptoms?

PD often begins as a tremor in one hand. As nerve cell damage increases, other symptoms such as muscle stiffness, slow movements, and loss of balance develop. Other non-movement-related symptoms include fatigue, irregular blood pressure, poor digestion, as well as accelerated cognitive and mental health decline.

Is there a cure?  

Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for PD. Funding for new research is of utmost importance! So please consider getting involved in your local community. Search for organizations and facilities hosting events. If you are unable to make a donation, consider volunteering your time. Let us all contribute to a Parkinson’s Disease future this April. 

Get Involved Locally

We are so glad that Sunway’s headquarters is based out of Sarasota Florida. We work closely with the Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s. They are a 501c3 that serves over 3,000 people who are affected by Parkinson’s every year…and at NO COST. They provide online and in-person support, classes, and programming with their “A Better Approach to Parkinson’s”. 

We would also like to remind our local followers that Parkinson Place Center for All Movement Disorders in Sarasota is another nonprofit organization offering over 80 free classes every month for those with PD and their caregivers. This involves access to guided fitness programs, connection with support groups, and more. Check out their website here. 

If you are not in Sarasota, no worries. There are so many opportunities to get involved or support. Below are a few sites to get you started.

Parkinson’s Foundation

The Michael J. Fox Foundation

Let’s all play a part in recognizing and supporting those with Parkinson’s Disease this month! 

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