Barbara Levi and Carl Schneider speak with Sandra Siepak about the Parkinson Association of Santa Barbara, which is a nonprofit serving the California central-coastal area.
Their mission is to offer education, motivation, friendship, and support to people with Parkinson’s, as well as their caregivers, family members, and friends. They strive to help people maintain a positive quality of life.
Schneider, who has Parkinson’s, mentions he benefited from deep brain stimulation (DBS), which is a surgery to implant a device that sends electrical signals to brain areas responsible for body movement. DBS can help reduce the symptoms of tremor, slowness, stiffness, and walking problems caused by Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that leads to shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with walking, balance, and coordination. Parkinson’s symptoms usually begin gradually and get worse over time. As the disease progresses, people may have difficulty walking and talking. They may also have mental and behavioral changes, sleep problems, depression, memory difficulties, and fatigue.
Both men and women can have Parkinson’s disease. However, the disease affects about 50 percent more men than women. Although most people with Parkinson’s first develop the disease at about age 60, about 5 to 10 percent of people with Parkinson’s have “early-onset” disease, which begins before the age of 50. Early-onset forms of Parkinson’s are often, but not always, inherited, and some forms have been linked to specific gene mutations.
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