María Jesús Delgado, the president of the Spanish Parkinson´s Federation

As World Parkinson’s Day was commemorated on the 11th of April, new data reveals that about 150,000 people in Spain are affected by the condition, with around 10,000 new cases each year, making it the second most prevalent neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer´s.

María Jesús Delgado, the president of the Spanish Parkinson´s Federation, explained how the condition not only directly affects those who suffer from the disease, but also their families, with both social and medicinal elements having to be taken into consideration. “Parkinson´s is a great unknown and is associated with increased tremor, that is the general image in society”, Delgado explains, “but it is neither one nor the other”.

“To break the myths and prejudices of the disease, we provide training and information”, says Delgado, who reports that the tremor is one of the symptoms, but not always, as there are also others, such as depression.

Perhaps another fact which is unknown is that one in five patients are under 50 years of age, with early-onset diagnosis only occurring after the age of 35.

The campaign this year to mark the day was accompanied by the slogan “Every superhero needs a superpartner”, recognising the solidarity needed to combat the condition, as, “The Super Hero is sick, and the idea we all have a superpartner, management, public and private companies, families, caregivers, associations is key”, Delgado explains.

Research is one of the great centres of hope for sufferers of Parkinson´s, as “although the cause of the disease is unknown, there are several lines of research which are encouraging, including vaccines, new treatments, etc. In fact, I think we will soon discover its origin”, she continued.

Parkinson’s occurs when nerve cells in the brain stop producing a substance called dopamine, but the reason that happens is unknown. Treatments allow patients to live with this disease for up to 40 years with a good quality of life for the first 15, before the effects of the medication start to take its toll; and are used in conjunction with essential rehabilitation therapy including physical therapy, speech therapy, music therapy and psychological support.

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