April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month

April is Parkinson’s Disease awareness month. Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that progresses slowly in most people. Most people’s symptoms take years to develop, and they live for many years with the disease. It appears to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

In short, a person’s brain slowly stops producing a neurotransmitter called dopamine. With less and less dopamine, a person has less and less ability to regulate their movements, body and emotions. Tremors and stiffness can result.

Parkinson’s disease itself is not fatal. However, complications from the disease are serious; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rated complications from PD as the 14th top cause of death in the United States. There can be cognitive deficits as well. Info is available here: http://www.parkinson.org/understanding-parkinsons/what-is-parkinsons

Starting September 29, 2016, the Social Security Administration (SSA) used new criteria to evaluate Parkinson’s disease for disability insurance. This marks the first time the SSA has incorporated the non-motor aspects of Parkinson’s disease, such as cognitive functioning, into its criteria for evaluating SSDI. Comments: https://www.michaeljfox.org/foundation/news-detail.php?social-security-administration-recognizes-non-motor-symptoms-of-parkinson-disease
The new Social Security regulations:https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-07-01/pdf/2016-15306.pdf