Listen Up Middle Georgia!
We have important work to do assisting people “Live Well With Their Parkinson’s.”
Thirteen Parkinson’s people — patients and care partners— recounted their journeys to students at the Mercer School of Medicine Tuesday, March 6.
Bottom line: The Thirteen got scarce information at diagnosis about the disease or their future with it. Plus, there was no PD care system for them to enter.
They were left alone, very alone, with their incurable but treatable malady
Parkinson’s is the second most prevalent neurological disease after Alzheimer’s. Incidence is forecast to double in the next 20 years.
Georgia natives and residents are particularly at risk.
Agent Orange is a known causal agent. Georgia has large numbers of veterans who served in Vietnam and were exposed to Agent Orange.
Certain agricultural chemicals are also linked to PD. We are a rural, agricultural state.
A key answer and action step is to strengthen the teamwork between family doctors who diagnose PD and expert neurologists who prescribe a treatment plan.
Equally challenging is the lack of a care system for patients to enter for guidance and assistance in making necessary lifestyle improvements. Those include diet, exercise, social engagement and mental discipline.
We can pool the university and health-care-organization assets we have in Middle Georgia and create our own ”system” of care.
Doing both would move us to the front rank of states doing well by citizens who are fighting back against their enigmatic malady.
An important marker of a state’s vigor in PD treatment is the availability of an acclaimed exercise program named Rock Steady Boxing (RSB).
Florida has 32 RSB franchises; North Carolina 19; Tennessee 9; South Carolina 7; Alabama 6.
Until recently, Georgia had but one, in northwest Atlanta. Savannah and August are recent additions.
Georgia could vault to the front rank by strengthening the ties between family physicians and expert neurologists and by creating an effective, after-diagnosis care “system.”
Let’s start doing both.