April is Parkinson's disease awareness month, a time to learn about this illness and to be aware of the estimated seven to ten million people that wake up everyday to face the challenges of this incurable, progressive illness. And these challenges include motor symptoms like tremor, rigidity, slowness of movement and loss of balance.
Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease for which there is no cure. April is Parkinson's awareness month, a time for raising public understanding about a disease that affects one in 100 people over the age of 65, translating to millions worldwide who are currently facing the daily challenges this illness brings.
Health is health. One disease does not trump another. But support goes a long way in raising spirits and causing one to feel less alone; less isolated. Depression is a state which has for its purpose to gnaw away at your mind bit by bit, until you have given up completely. And when that happens, the outcome is the same for someone battling from depression as someone fighting cancer.
Along with my growing belly and the morning sickness, there also was a new tremor in my right pinkie finger, a symptom that as a physician myself, I knew was not part of normal pregnancy. And before I could even welcome my new daughter into this world, I was burdened by a different unwelcome companion; a diagnosis of Young Onset Parkinson's Disease. Parenting is a challenge in and of itself and to do it well is even more difficult. Add into the mix dealing with a chronic disease and the hurdles are magnified.
As the morning sun pours into my bedroom, I slowly swing my legs over the side of the bed but the pain in my cramped feet make it nearly impossible to navigate to the bathroom. Like myself, many people with chronic illness awaken every morning to face a day full of challenges. What the millions of us affected with a chronic, disabling disease need is quite simple yet unbelievably complicated -- better treatments and ultimately, a cure. We often think of the search for these elusive endpoints as being far removed from us when in fact, we need to be an integral part of the process. The answers are essentially, in all of us.
It may come as a shock to you, but I always skip breakfast. Instead of rushing to prepare a large breakfast every morning, I practice intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting consists of fasting for a minimum of 16 hours per day. It is a simple dietary approach to achieve longevity, better health, and fitness performance.
More than 15 years ago, at the start of my medical career and expecting my first child, the neurologist confirmed what the first clinician had suspected -- the tremor I had been experiencing over the preceding year was Young Onset Parkinson's Disease. Genetics seemed to have loaded the gun, but what exactly pulled the trigger?
When Soania Mathur found out she had Parkinson's Disease, she was carrying her first child and just 27 years old. Now a mother of three daughters, aged 12, 10 and six, she says her biggest challenge back then was trying to find ways to help her children understand her diagnosis and making sure they were never afraid.