The National Parkinson Foundation Marks Hispanic Heritage Month With New Spanish Toll-Free Helpline, Brochure, Resources

Release date: 10/4/2011

—Survey Shows Most Hispanics With Early Parkinson's Signs Would Wait To See Doc—

MIAMI—October 4, 2011—The National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) announced today a campaign to reach the Hispanic community about early warning signs of Parkinson's disease (PD) with two key features: a bilingual, toll-free Helpline 1-800-4PD-INFO (1-800-473-4636), where health specialists answer caller questions about PD in both English and Spanish, and, a new, free brochure in Spanish titled, "10 Signos de Alerta Temprana Sobre la Enfermedad de Parkinson" ("10 Early Warning Signs of Parkinson's Disease").  

According to a recent NPF survey of Hispanics nationwide, the majority (over 55%) of respondents said that if they experienced tremor or shaking, both early warning signs of PD, they would "wait to give it more time to go away." This finding, coupled with a growing, aging Hispanic population, means that an ever-increasing number of people will be at risk for Parkinson's and not get medically recommended early intervention.  Compounding the increased risk of PD and delayed medical intervention, according to Joyce Oberdorf, NPF President and CEO, is that the Hispanic community often lack access to quality health care, including the latest information on PD. 

"With our new bilingual, Spanish and English, Helpline and brochure, we hope to raise awareness about Parkinson's disease within the Hispanic community," states Oberdorf, "and to urge them to know the early warning signs, and if needed, to see a neurologist who can help them manage the symptoms."

"Many people often mistakenly attribute the first symptoms of PD to the normal aging process, resulting in severe consequences later," Oberdorf adds.  "But recognizing the symptoms and getting an accurate diagnosis early offers the best chance of living a longer, healthier life." 

PD specialists help callers locate resources in their area as well as send an NPF informational packet.  NPF resources include local PD networks, such as, the nearest of 43 NPF Centers of Excellence, 39 chapters and over 900 support groups nationwide.  The NPF packets arm patients and caregivers with helpful information on preparing for an appointment with their general practitioner or movement disorder specialist.

NPF also offers an array of free Spanish resources online at www.parkinson.org/espanol.  These include: a Spanish "Ask the Doctor" online forum, "Preguntele al Medico," eight educational booklets on various topics including nutrition and medication; a brochure on how to live well with Parkinson's, "Como Vivir Bien con la Enfermedad de Parkinson," and four videos answering common questions about PD in Spanish.

The NPF Helpline is made possible through the generous support of the Medtronic Foundation and thousands of people with Parkinson's and their families.

About Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's with an estimated one million people with the disease in the United States and four to six million worldwide. At present, there is no cure for Parkinson's disease and 50,000 to 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States alone.

About the National Parkinson Foundation
Founded in 1957, the National Parkinson Foundation's mission is to improve the quality of care for people with Parkinson's disease through research, education, and outreach. Since 1982, NPF has funded more than $155 million in care, research and support services.

For more information about NPF's Spanish resources, visit www.parkinson.org/espanol.

The Helpline hours are Monday—Friday, 9 a.m.—5 p.m. (ET). People with questions about PD may also send them to NPF at helpline@parkinson.org.

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