154,969 registered members
1.2 million with Parkinson's in Europe
[Posted: Mon 25/08/2008 by Deborah Condon www.irishhealth.com]
There are now almost 1.2 million people living with Parkinson’s disease in Europe, however access to care and treatment differs widely depending on where patients live, the European Parkinson’s Disease Association (EPDA) has said.
It has launched a major new awareness campaign - Parkinson’s is visible, make it livable - which aims to visualise the daily challenges faced by people with the disease and increase people’s awareness and understanding of it.
Parkinson's is a progressive neurological disease, the symptoms of which include tremors, stiffness and slow or hesitant speech. While the disease is most commonly associated with older people, it is thought that around one in 10 people are diagnosed before the age of 50. An estimated six to seven thousand people in Ireland are affected. There is no cure.
New research released at the launch of the campaign, which involved almost 3,000 people, showed that eating, dressing, washing and speaking are some of the daily tasks that are significantly affected by Parkinson’s. Furthermore almost half of all respondents said that their depression and mood swings had placed an added strain on their relationships with partners and families.
“There are nearly 1.2 million people living with Parkinson’s in Europe and with an ageing population, this figure is set to rise. It’s time to address inequalities in care and treatment of the disease and improve the lives of those affected by Parkinson’s now and in the future,” said EPDA president, Stephen Pickard.
Welcoming the campaign, chairperson of the Parkinson’s Association of Ireland (PAI), Una Anderson Ryan, said Parkinson’s services in Ireland ‘are not adequate to cope with the needs’.
“Some parts of the country have better services than others, but the realities of the difficulties facing those with Parkinson’s on a daily basis suggests that more and better services and greater access to those services is needed, along with a greater public awareness of what Parkinson’s is,” Ms Anderson Ryan explained.
Also commenting on the campaign, Ann Keilthy of the PAI, who is herself affected by Parkinson’s, said that the EPDA campaign is a ‘vital step in offering hope to people with Parkisnon’s, by increasing the visibility of the condition and inspiring action’.
“This is a terrible condition and we must heighten the public’s awareness of it to ensure the fight for improved care and treatment continues throughout Europe,” Ms Keilthy added.
The campaign was launched at the 12th Congress of the European Federation of Neurological Societies in Madrid, Spain.
To watch an EPDA’s short film and find out more about the campaign, click on…http://www.parkinsonsdecisionaid.eu.com/awarenessCampaign/2008/video.asp
For more information on Parkinson’s in Ireland, click on…http://www.parkinsons.ie
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