To mark Parkinson’s Awareness Month, Parkinson Canada is unleashing a powerful and moving campaign designed to drive awareness and funding for research into the neurological disorder that affects a disproportionate Canadians.
“Parkinson’s disease is on the rise globally with Canada experiencing among the highest rates of prevalence with approximately 100,000 individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s,” says Dr. Karen Lee, Parkinson Canada president and CEO. “Researchers have been calling Parkinson’s a “pandemic” due to its growing prevalence around the world, with the impact of COVID-19 only accelerating this health issue.”
The month of April is dedicated to bringing awareness to the disease and here are five things you might not know:
- It impacts all ages. Despite the misconception that Parkinson’s only affects those 60 and older, research shows it is a complex brain disease that can impact adults of all ages with varying symptoms.
- It’s on the rise in Canada. More than 25 people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s in Canada every day. By 2031 that number is expected to double.
- It’s difficult to detect. Parkinson’s disease is notoriously difficult to detect which means people often go years, sometimes even decades, before getting diagnosed.
- Cost of care. Parkinson’s has the third-highest direct healthcare costs annually and people with the disease have the second-highest annual out-of-pocket expense for medication—an average of $1,100.
- COVID-19 is making it worse. With the pandemic causing serious backlogs in the healthcare system, Canadians who were already facing wait times upwards of two years to see a specialist are now having to wait even longer to determine if they have Parkinson’s.
It often takes years of navigating the healthcare system to receive a Parkinson’s diagnoses, which means that educating healthcare providers and patients about signs, symptoms and treatment is crucial.
Parkinson Canada’s newest campaign, No Matter What, “inspires hope and resilience for Canadians living with Parkinson’s and their families, further communicating the commitment to overcome obstacles and support those living with the disease, while working together on the path to a cure.”
The organization is also a founding partner of the Canadian Open Parkinson Network (C-OPN), an exciting initiative that gives researchers across the country a platform to make new connections and share findings leading to innovative advancements for Parkinson’s disease.