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Parkinson's Support Groups Grow Nationwide
Date:4/13/2009

Parkinson's Awareness Month raises visibility of 900 active groups; National Parkinson Foundation offers online directory as network expands

April 13, 2009 - For individuals diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, self-care and education are crucial for dealing with the progression of the disease, and support groups provide an important component for this self-care, according to the National Parkinson Foundation, which is observing Parkinson's Awareness Month in April. Organizations, including Allsup, a national Social Security Disability Insurance representation company, are helping raise awareness about available resources for individuals and their families.

An estimated 1.5 million Americans have the brain disorder, while an estimated 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, according to the foundation. As many as one in 15 people are diagnosed with Parkinson's before age 50. Symptoms can vary widely but include tremors, slowness of movement, rigidity, difficulty with balance, muffled speech and other physical limitations.

Support groups provide an important avenue toward learning more about this disease and finding others who can share their experiences in dealing with the brain disorder. There are more than 900 active groups in the National Parkinson Foundation's network.

The foundation provides information about support groups on its Web site, online geographic directory of active support groups. A support group is an informal, self-managed organization of persons with Parkinson's and their
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