Positive Paths with Parkinson’s Disease

The Michigan Parkinson Foundation brought experts from all over the state to the Negaunee Senior Center to talk with patients and their families about what Parkinson’s is and how it’s managed.

An estimated 30,000 people, in the state of Michigan alone, suffer from the disease. Diagnosing the ailment is part of the problem.

“It takes a while to diagnose because the symptoms come on slowly and they’re very vague. It’s important for people to get to a doctor or neurologist who understands how to treat Parkinson’s disease because when you’re taking care of the symptoms, you’re managing the symptoms of the disease, you’re not curing it. It takes a lot of expertise and also communication between you and the physician,” explained Debbie Orloff, CEO of the Michigan Parkinson Foundation.

There are four basic motor symptoms: a tremor in your hands while they’re at rest, rigidity of the muscles, slowness of movement, and the worst and latest symptom, falling. Medication is one way to remedy the effects, but physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and exercise also do wonders to alleviate telltale signs.

The chronicle illness presents issues for not only the patient, but the family of caregivers, as well.

“You can get really sucked into all of the issues about taking care of another person and lose your own self. It’s very stressful, so we talk about different ways to get the relief and the respite,” Orloff added.

Anyone that was not able to attend the presentation is encouraged to call the foundation for a copy of the tape so you can stay up to date on the latest news in the field. The independent organization hosts 58 support groups across the state and can be reached at 1-800-852-9781 or www.parkinsonsmi.org.