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Today is World Parkinson's Day! Did you know?


Nearly one million people in the U.S. are living with Parkinson’s disease (PD). This number is expected to rise to 1.2 million by 2030. 16,203 people are confirmed to be living with PD in Alabama. Parkinson’s is the second-most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease. At the rate of increase, it could become the first – surpassing Alzheimer’s disease. Nearly 90,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with PD each year. This represents a steep increase from previously estimated rates of diagnosis annually.


The combined direct and indirect cost of Parkinson’s, including treatment, social security payments and lost income, is estimated to be nearly $52 billion per year in the U.S. alone. The direct and indirect costs to care for people with Parkinson’s in Alabama is $810 million every year. Medications can cost an average of $2,500 a year per person, and a therapeutic surgery can cost up to $100,000 per person.


The incidence of Parkinson’s disease increases with age, but an estimated four percent of people with PD are diagnosed before age 50. Men are 1.5 times more likely to have Parkinson’s than women. Every 6 minutes, someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with PD.


The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Movement Disorder Clinic located at the Kirklin Clinic averages seeing over 3,500 patients annually. UAB is one of five American Parkinson’s Disease Associations (APDA) Udall Centers for Excellence in the nation. Other Alabama medical systems that support the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease with Movement Disorder Specialists on staff include Huntsville Hospital and the University of South Alabama.


Due to Alabama’s aging baby boomer population combined with occupational exposures from farming, industry and military service, the number of Alabamians impacted by Parkinson’s grows drastically year over year. Alabama ranks lowest across the nation in the number of neurologists, movement disorder specialists, and mental health therapists available to support this growing population – making time with physicians limited and in great demand.


ABOUT PARKINSON ASSOCIATION OF ALABAMA (PAA) Founded in 1978, the Parkinson Association of Alabama (PAA) has been dedicated to one mission: improving the quality of life for patients, caregivers and families affected by Parkinson’s disease throughout the state. Governed by a Board of Directors, Executive Committee and minimal staff, the PAA”s vision is dedicated to Care, Community and a Cure for Parkinson’s disease. Hosting educational forums, support groups and annual fundraising events, the PAA is the GO-TO Resource for everything Parkinson’s in Alabama. As a result, the PAA is dedicated to three key initiatives:

  • CARE: We believe in access to quality care for ALL Alabamians, providing awareness to make the best-informed decisions with the latest advancements. We believe comprehensive wellness is the key to living well with Parkinson’s disease.

  • COMMUNITY: We believe community connectedness through support and camaraderie equips those impacted by Parkinson’s and their care partners with a network of resources and encouragement to ensure no one travels this journey alone.

  • CURE: WE believe in supporting Alabama’s quality research to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease. The PAA partners with UAB And other Alabama-based hospitals through grants and research for a cure.

FUNDING Contributions to the PAA stay local in Alabama to help people live quality lives with Parkinson’s disease and provide research funding for a cure. The PAA has contributed funds in excess of $2.9 million in support of PD research at UAB resulting in over $20 million leveraged in research funding. The UAB Udall Center for Excellence is one of five PD research facilities specializing in Parkinson’s in the United States. More than $35 thousand has been provided annually since 2014 to support UAB Predoctoral Scholars in research. Additionally, the PAA provides more than $30 thousand in scholarships to those impacted by Parkinson’s to attend movement-based programs throughout the state.

Nearly everyone knows someone impacted by Parkinson’s. Anyone who wants to support the PAA and its mission can donate online today at www.parkinsonalabama.com by clicking on the red, donate now button.


SOURCES Parkinson’s Foundation: National statistics provided by the Parkinson’s Foundation from the comprehensive assessment of PD incidence in North America. The study was supported by the Parkinson’s Foundation and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF), as well as the Institute for Clinical Evaluation Sciences (ICES).


Michael J. Fox Foundation: State statistics provided by the Economic Burden of Parkinson’s Disease: Study Finds Annual Cost to Federal Government is $25 Billion, Double Previous Estimates. Cost of Prevalence in Alabama. Fact Sheet.

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