Pig Out for Parkinson’s Aims to Increase Awareness

on April 20, 2017

By Michelle Haub

April is National Parkinson’s Awareness month. The number of Americans with PD is estimated to be one million; however, this number is likely higher as many people are not accurately diagnosed. There are blood tests and brain images that are used to rule out other disease processes and even a newer DaT Scan that improves the likelihood of an objective diagnosis but assessment by a skilled specialist is still imperative. Although diagnosing PD is a complicated task, almost 60,000 Americans are diagnosed every year. As our population lives longer, the rate of diagnosis will likely continue to grow as the risk increases with age. Men have a greater prevalence of PD than women; however, this statistic is not always reflected in our community. The cause of PD is still unknown, but evidence suggests there are genetic and environmental components involved. 

The hallmarks of the disease are rigidity (stiff muscles), bradykinesia (slow movements), resting tremor (although not present in the majority of individuals) and postural instability. A few other common features present in PD include:  depression, quiet voice, constipation, vision changes and sleep disturbances. Although PD is a progressive neurological degenerative disease, it typically progresses slowly and people often live with the disease for many years. Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), Lewy Body Dementia and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) are other diseases that are in the Parkinson’s family and are often referred to as ‘Parkinson’s Plus’ or ‘Parkinsonism’.  These diseases present with similar features but often progress more rapidly. Whether one has the symptoms of typical or atypical Parkinson’s, it is beneficial to work closely with a Motor Movement Specialist or Neurologist to optimize quality of care.

Optimal medication management is imperative for individuals with PD and can help decrease the symptoms of the disease. With the right medications, therapy and exercise, individuals often regain some control and confidence in their daily living skills and improve their quality of life. Interventions earlier in the disease process can prove to be most effective, however progress and changes can occur at all stages of the disease.

The Meadowlark Parkinson’s Program’s goal is to help individuals affected by PD live well. The Program offers biweekly exercise classes & yoga classes, weekly voice classes, Rock Steady Boxing classes, bimonthly care-partner support groups, a monthly education group, a monthly Young Onset meeting, consultations, a lending library of resources (at Meadowlark Hills & the Manhattan Public Library) and equipment as well as other outreach, educational and scholarship opportunities. All services are provided FREE of charge to anyone in the Flint Hills.

Thursday, April 27 is the 7th Annual Pig Out for Parkinson’s at Cox Bros BBQ on McCall Rd. The primary purpose of this event is to raise awareness for PD. Cox Bros donates 10% of the sales from this day to the Program. K-State Football Coach, Bill Snyder, will be present at lunch for autographs and pictures. The evening is filled with activity including: a hog roast buffet, beer garden, performance by country singer Bryton Stoll and a Rock Steady Boxing demonstration. 

Be sure to register for the K-State Alum & Green Bay Packer Jordy Nelson’s Pro Bowl Jersey which includes a beautiful hand-crafted display! Tickets are $1 for one and $5 for six tickets and can be purchased at Meadowlark Hills’ front desk & Verna Belle’s (until noon on Thursday, April 27), www.meadowlark.org and at Cox Bros BBQ. The winner will be drawn at 8:50 p.m. on the 27 and need not be present to win.

I look forward to seeing you at Pig Out for Parkinson’s at Cox Bros BBQ on Thursday, April 27 to celebrate National Parkinson’s Awareness Month!