The department of Neurology and Stroke Medicine at Amrita Hospital, Faridabad organised a patient awareness programme on 18 April 2023 to mark World Parkinson’s Day.
The hospital announced the establishment of a Parkinson’s support group to provide assistance to patients and families affected by Parkinson’s disease (PD) and other movement disorders. It would offer a platform for sharing experiences, knowledge, and emotional support to help patients better manage their condition and improve their quality of life.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that affects the body’s motor system, causing tremors, stiffness, and difficulty in movement. It is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder in the world and leads to significant morbidity unless treated early and appropriately.
The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease consist of bradykinesia (slowness of movements), rigidity, rest tremors, and impaired posture. In the beginning, the symptoms are mild and may manifest as tremor of the hands or legs in some patients, while others may experience slowness of physical activities without any significant tremors.
Parkinson’s disease is often accompanied by non-motor symptoms such as anxiety, depression, constipation, and pain. It is not uncommon for patients to be diagnosed initially as having frozen shoulder or low back pain. It is important to raise awareness among people so that early signs of PD are recognized for timely consultation with the doctor.
“We are thrilled to offer a Parkinson’s support group to the community,” said Dr Sanjay Pandey, head, Department of Neurology, Amrita Hospital, Faridabad, “We recognize the challenges that Parkinson’s patients and their families face, and we are committed to providing a range of support services to help them manage their condition and improve their quality of life. The group will offer invaluable support to them as they navigate the challenges of managing this progressive neurological disorder. It would conduct regular meetings and provide educational resources and access to quality medical professionals. The group will also be a venue for social interaction, which is important for patients and their families.”
Dr Sanjay said there is no nationwide registry for PD in India, but studies estimate the prevalence of 70-100 cases per 100,000 people. This disease is often underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed in India, particularly in rural areas, so the actual incidence may be higher, he said. “Setting up a support group is important as patients often require a range of support services to help them manage their symptoms and maintain their independence. These include medical care from a neurologist or movement disorder specialist, physical therapy to help improve their mobility, balance, and overall strength, occupational therapy to learn strategies to perform daily tasks more easily, speech therapy for maintaining their ability to speak clearly, and emotional support as many patients experience depression, anxiety, and other emotional challenges.”
Parkinson’s is a growing health concern in India, as the population ages and life expectancy increases. It is traditionally considered a disease of older adults, but an increasing number of young people are also being diagnosed with the disease. It is often accompanied by other health problems such as depression, anxiety, and cognitive impairment. In India, there may be a higher prevalence of comorbidities among Parkinson’s patients due to factors such as high stress levels, poor diet, and lack of exercise.
“Parkinson’s disease can place a significant burden on patients and their families, particularly in India where there may be cultural expectations for family members to provide care for their loved ones. So there is a need for increased support services for both patients and caregivers,” Dr Pandey said.