More than 8,000 Albertans are affected by Parkinson disease. Some start showing symptoms in their 30s and 40s.
The disease devastates the nervous system, causing tremors and making it hard to move, walk and balance.
It robs people of their voices, leaving behind only a whisper. Even swallowing is difficult. Parkinson's changes a person's moods, thinking and concentration, and makes it hard to sleep.
The emotional, physical and social impact of Parkinson disease leaves people disconnected from the world, and often leads to depression.
Fast Facts about Parkinson disease:
The average age of diagnosis is approximately 56;
20% of people with Parkinson disease are diagnosed before 50 years of age;
50% of those with Parkinson disease suffer from depression;
40% will develop difficulty chewing and swallowing;
89% will develop difficulty speaking; many develop a soft voice and can barely whisper; and
The average monthly expenses for one person living with Parkinson disease is $1,000 to cover costs of support services, education, transportation and medication.