THE Malaysian Parkinson's Disease Association (MPDA) will commemorate World Parkinson's Disease Day with the Red Tulip Awareness Day today to increase knowledge of the disease and to offer practical help to patients and caregivers.
Often dismissed as an “old person's disease”, Parkinson's Disease (PD) is a progressive and degenerative neurological disease for which there is currently no cure. It affects people of all races and cultures with an estimated prevalence of 6.3 million people worldwide, including some 15,000 in Malaysia.
PD is traditionally characterised by uncontrolled shaking (resting tremor) and/or voluntary rigidity or stiffness in the limbs (bradykinesia).
MPDA adviser and consultant neurologist Dr Chew Nee Kong said delay in diagnosis of PD hindered effective treatment of patients.
“Health professionals, patients and their caregivers attribute tremors or generally slowing down as merely natural aging process, and thus do not seek treatment at the early stage of PD,” he said.
“There is much to be done in terms of creating awareness as PD though incurable does not have to be a dreaded disease. We must ensure that patients continue to enjoy a relatively high quality of life and have as much mobility as possible,” said Dr Chew.
MPDA president Sara Lew said the Red Tulip Awareness Day was important to ensure that PD patients, their caregivers and health professionals continued to highlight the challenges faced by the community as well as rally support in terms of better medical treatment, subsidised medication and facilitate a platform for greater interaction to promote caring and sharing.
“The MPDA continues to focus on facilitating interaction between members via health talks, physiotherapy and speech therapy, and create a positive attitude for PD patients to seek greater mobility and quality of life” she added.
The Red Tulip Awareness Day sponsored by Novartis will be held at the Crystal Crown Hotel, Petaling Jaya, today from 9.30am.
The programme includes a talk on “What You Need to Know About Parkinson’s Disease” and a lecture and demonstration on speaking, swallowing and eating the right way.
The first 100 participants to register for the commemoration will also be given a free blood glucose and cholesterol check.
Seats are limited and those interested should call Patricia Ho at 03-7980 6685.