Parkinson’s is the fastest growing neurological disease in the world. No matter at what age a person is diagnosed, receiving the news that you have Parkinson’s is frightening and life-changing. The average wait time to see a specialist for diagnosis of Parkinson’s in Canada is 11 months and in some regions the wait is 2+ years. Here is the story of uncertainly and discovery of one of the 100,000 Canadians living with Parkinson’s today. No two people experience Parkinson’s the same way and early and accurate diagnosis are critical for effective treatment and to maintain quality of life.
Wilson-Garrett first noticed a tingling in one arm and thought little of it. The
tingling didn’t get better and in fact, got worse and became a tremor. Her
family doctor referred her to a neurologist. She waited six stressful months to see him, not knowing what was wrong and
whether or not she could be helped.
certainly not because physicians don’t want to see people but the problem is we
just don’t have enough physicians and this is particularly problematic in
Parkinson’s because the condition gets more and more complex and more difficult
to treat as time goes on,” says Dr.
Silke Cresswell-Appel, Associate
Professor for Medicine/Neurology at the University of British Columbia (UBC)
and a member of Parkinson Canada’s Scientific Advisory Council.
Roberta spent hours on the internet trying to
find answers on her own. At her appointment, the neurologist told her not to worry—it
Shortly after, Roberta developed a tremor in
her jaw and started having trouble swallowing. She went into panic mode,
desperate for answers—and a diagnosis. Her new neurologist diagnosed her with
Parkinson’s and so began her treatment. She also attended a full-day Parkinson Canada workshop, where she
learned about getting a referral to a Movement Disorders Clinic—something she didn’t
“After everything I’d been through, I had no
real expectations. As it turned out, reaching out to Parkinson Canada and
attending the workshop was the best thing I could have done,” says Roberta. “Thankfully
I have a support system now. I’m actually very lucky. I know that there are
other Canadians who don’t have access to such a clinic because of where they
live in the country.”
continues to fund promising research, and to advocate to reduce wait times for
a diagnosis, and to provide the latest evidence-based resources for the
Canada sponsored a comprehensive new Canadian
Guideline for Parkinson Disease, 2nd Edition, which provides
practical guidance for physicians, allied health professionals, people with
Parkinson’s and families on Parkinson’s disease management.
addition to specialist physicians, we need more nurses, and speech,
occupational and physical therapists with training in this area, as well as
appropriate palliative care for Parkinson patients,” says Dr. David Grimes, lead author of the Guideline and Division
Head, Neurology, The Ottawa Hospital, University of Ottawa Brain and Mind
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