Parkinson's awareness 'woeful'

The charity Parkinson's UK says its research shows a very low level of awareness about Parkinson's disease and its effects. Gaps in knowledge are worse in Wales than any other part of the UK.

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Parkinson's awareness campaign

Adverts will be appearing on billboards and in newspapers Credit: Parkinson's UK

To combat what it describes as a 'woeful' lack of awareness about the disease, the charity Parkinson's UK has launched a new campaign to show the impacts it has on people's everyday lives.

The adverts take everyday images and mix them up Credit: Parkinson's UK

They read: 'Parkinson's mixes up the messages the brain sends to the body, so everyday tasks become incredibly difficult.'

'Parkinson's might not kill you. But it can make living hell.'

Research has shown 'just how little the public know' about the condition Credit: Parkinson's UK

Parkinson's sufferer: 'Getting out of bed is the first challenge of every day'

These findings underline what we've been hearing from people with Parkinson's across the UK - that the general public simply don't understand their condition.

Disturbingly, because Parkinson's is so poorly understood, those with the condition tell us all too often that they are on the receiving end of these embarrassed and uncomfortable looks.

This woeful lack of knowledge means people with Parkinson's have been arrested simply for not smiling at a sporting event, or refused service by taxi firms because people have mistaken speech problems - a common symptom of the condition - for drunkenness.

– Steve Ford, Chief Executive of Parkinson's UK

The charity Parkinson's UK says people with Parkinson's 'desperately need' more understanding, as the condition makes simple day-to-day tasks 'almost impossible for some.'

Parkinson's is degenerative neurological condition, for which there currently is no cure. The main symptoms of the condition are tremor, slowness of movement and rigidity.

These days I can't turn over in bed which makes me very stiff when I wake up - so getting out of my bed is the first challenge of every day. Until I've taken my five tablets in the morning, it takes about an hour to get get going.

I do some things around the house but I have to have a cleaning lady because I can't acheive anywhere near as much as I used to before the Parkinson's.

Even getting up the stairs is difficult - I'm tired when I reach the top and end up staggering into the bedroom for a rest.

– Jenni McCabe, who has Parkinson's disease

Charity criticises 'lack of knowledge' of Parkinson's disease in Wales

People in Wales have the lowest understanding of Parkinson's disease in the UK, a charity claims.

Parkinson's UK is now launching an 'awareness drive' to show the effects of the condition.

The research, published today, found:

  • Parkinson's affects 6,000 people in Wales - one in 500 of the population
  • 83% of Welsh people have little or no knowledge of the condition - above the UK average of 77%
  • 16% of people in the UK say they'd feel annoyed, embarrassed or uncomfortable to encounter someone with a tremor

2,059 people around the UK were interviewed last month.

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