Town council has officially designated April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month after a presentation by Pat Evans at Tuesday night’s Committee of the Whole.
Evans was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 54. Today, 13 years later, she is a proud advocate raising awareness and educating the community on the disease. She strives to end the stigma surround Parkinson’s through open dialogue.
According to the journal of Parkinson’s disease the by-products of industrialization are contributing to an impending pandemic. Parkinson’s is the fastest growing neurological disease in the world and neurological disorders are the leading cause of disability globally.
“Our health system is not ready for it,” Evans said.
The Lanark Leeds and Grenville community lacks specialists, making it harder for patients to find treatment. She advises that a neurologist and specifically a movement disorder specialist be brought to Perth.
“My biggest concern is GPs saying, ‘let’s watch this for a while.’ If you have three or four symptoms it probably is Parkinson’s,” Evans said.
Patients may see Parkinson’s as a condition that can’t be treated, but regular exercise started early on in the disease can improve their quality of life. Exercises should make the patient break a sweat for 30 minutes a day a minimum of three times a week. These exercises should involve big movements like with boxing, tai chi, yoga and dancing.
Evans said that men are more likely to get the disease, but may be unwilling to share medical concerns with their doctor for fear of losing their driver’s license or job if diagnosed. Patients may see Parkinson’s as a condition that can’t be treated, but regular exercise started early on in the disease can improve their quality of life.
Parkinson’s is often under diagnosed and more data is needed in the area.
Evans organized a Super Walk for Parkinson’s last summer and the event raised $42,000. Deputy Mayor Ed MacPherson and Mayor John Fenik also took part.
Photo caption: Pat Evans speaks to Perth council at Tuesday night’s Committee of the Whole about the prevalence of Parkinson’s.