By LOIS KINDLE
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative disorder that affects a person’s quality of movement. Its symptoms can include issues with balance and walking, stiffness, tremor, slowness, difficulty swallowing and talking, and episodes of freezing in place. Known as PD, the disease can also cause constipation, depression, memory problems, sleep disruption and more.
Though there is no known cure, there are medications, treatments and movement programs to help slow the progress of the disease.
According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, nearly 1 million people in the United States and 10 million throughout the world currently live with PD. That includes many folks in South Shore, including Sun City Center.
“We currently have 156 members who receive a monthly email from the Parkinson’s Support Group of Sun City Center, which is sponsored by the Men’s Club of Sun City Center,” said Debbie Caneen, president of the South Shore Coalition for Mental Health and Aging and the support group coordinator. “The email lets everyone know about our regular meeting at Sun Towers the third Monday of every month at 1:30 p.m. We always have a topic of interest and generally a speaker who’s an expert in the field.”
The support group’s next meeting is set for Jan. 17 in the theater at Sun Towers Retirement Community, 101 Trinity Lakes Drive, Sun City Center.
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Jennipher Lenoir, of the Sun Towers Rehabilitation Outpatient Therapy Department, will facilitate the meeting. It will concentrate on the importance of daily exercise to improve functional movement for the basic activities of daily living. Attendees can learn how occupational, physical and speech therapies can improve their quality of life.
“My role as facilitator is to coordinate resources and assist the Parkinson’s community,” said Lenoir, who’s also a certified specialist, targeting movement disorders in the LSVT Big Therapy Program.
Through physical and occupational therapy, she said, the BIG training program shows patients how they can improve their balance, core flexibility and walking speed with bigger steps. “Everything in the body is powered by muscles.”
The meeting’s January speaker will be Dr. Arpit Patel, of Excel Pain and Spine, 771 Cypress Village Blvd., Ruskin. Dr. Patel treats a wide range of acute and chronic pain syndromes, including low back pain associated with Parkinson’s.
“Parkinson’s has a lot of pain-related ailments and musculoskeletal complaints,” Patel said. “I work in complement with neurologists who prescribe medications for specific pain areas.”
Patel is double board-certified in Interventional Pain Medicine and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. An expert in all aspects of pain medicine, he uses evidence-based, minimally invasive treatments to help patients manage their pain.
Dr. Patel graduated with top honors from the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg, Va. He did his residency training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Nassau University Medical Center, where he was named chief resident.
He completed his training at the Interventional Pain Medicine Fellowship program at the University of South Florida Morsani School of Medicine and was voted by its faculty as “Fellow of the Year.”
Patel serves as an assistant professor for the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at the University of Central Florida and as an assistant clinical professor for the University of South Florida’s Pain Medicine Fellowship. He has received numerous awards and distinctions, including being voted Tampa Bay’s “Top Doc.”
Complimentary valet parking for the Parkinson’s Support Group meeting is available at the Sun Towers main entrance.
For more information on the meeting, call Debbie Caneen at 813-892-2990.
For more information on Dr. Patel and his associate, Dr. Corey Reeves, visit www.excelpainandspine.com/.