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The Four Tiers of Health Psychology and Parkinson’s Disease

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Parkinson’s Disease. is caused by degeneration in the brain that interferes with motor transmission signals. Parkinson’s Disease is the 2nd most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s disease in Singapore and is set to rise due to our aging population. The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation in America found that as many as one million Americans live with Parkinson’s disease, which is more than the combined number of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and Lou Gehrig’s disease. Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year, and this number does not reflect the thousands of cases that go undetected. More than 10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease. Incidence of Parkinson’s increases with age, but an estimated four percent of people with PD are diagnosed before the age of 50. Men are one and a half times more likely to have Parkinson’s than women.

It was the turbulent teenage years when my mother was first diagnosed. I recall that I was about 14 years old when that occurred. The thought of my mother having any sort of illness in those years was surreal. She was only in her early forties then. She was diagnosed with “juvenile Parkinson’s”. That was a great blow for her to receive that and to be told that it is a slow degenerative disease. I recall her recounting what was told to her that she would have shuffling and mask-like features. A few symptoms that the disease will bring. She was given a number of medications to take, vitamins, and even encouraged to go for physiotherapy.

Parkinson Society Singapore in 2015, estimates that some 4,000 people suffer from the disease in Singapore. It affects about three in every 1,000 seniors, aged 50 years and above. From 2013 to 2015, the Parkinson Centre has seen the number of clients grow from 250, to 700.

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