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April is National Parkinson’s Disease (PD) Awareness Month

50,000-60,000 people per year are diagnosed with PD, added to the nearly one million people already diagnosed in the US alone. A person does not die from PD but rather the complications associated with the disease which is ranked 14th of all leading causes of death in the US. There are many symptoms associated with the disease including the following:

Four Main Motor Symptoms of PD:

  • Shaking or tremor at rest.
  • Slowness of movement, called bradykinesia.
  • Stiffness or rigidity of the arms, legs or trunk.
  • Trouble with balance and falls, also called postural instability. Postural instability usually appears later with disease progression and may not be present with initial diagnosis.

Secondary Symptoms of PD May Include:

  • Small, cramped handwriting, called micrographia.
  • Reduced arm swing on the affected side.
  • Slight foot drag on affected side creating a shuffled walk.
  • “Freezing”—a term used to describe the phenomenon of being “stuck in place” when attempting to walk.
  • Loss of facial expression due to rigidity of facial muscles, called hypomimia.
  • Low voice volume or muffled speech, called hypophonia.
  • Tendency to fall backwards, called retropulsion.
  • Decrease ability in automatic reflexes such as blinking and swallowing.

Information obtained from the National Parkinson Foundation: www.parkinson.org

Physical therapy is an important aspect in helping to slow down the progression of these debilitating symptoms. A strong support group is also needed to help deal with the emotions when living with PD or caring for someone with this disease. Ashley Absmeier, PT, DPT runs a support group in Alamosa for individuals diagnosed with PD and their caregivers. She has presenters come in to discuss various topics as well as have occasional meetings focused specifically toward exercises.

If you know someone that has PD, please pass on 

or share this post. There’s a meeting every 3rd Wednesday of the month at 4pm at The Bridge at Alamosa.

Parkinson’s & Neurological Disease Support Group

Meetings every 3rd Wednesday @ 4pm
Meetings consist of various presentations on physical and mental well-being of those affected by a neurological disease. All are welcome to attend. Light snacks provided.

The Bridge at Alamosa
3407 Carroll Street
Alamosa, CO 81101

For more information, contact:
Ashley Absmeier-Koppenhafer
(719) 589-5149