Kim Dahler, in the photo with her husband David, says that Parkinson's is "not life or death, I just shake a little". (Assumed: Kim Dahler)
You would be forgiven for thinking that Parkinson's is a disease that affects only older people.
- Parkinson's disease is a progressive and chronic neurological condition that affects movement
- The early onset of Parkinson's disease can affect people aged 30 and 40 years
- Symptoms include muscle stiffness, tremors, postural instability, gait disturbances and bradykinesia
But it can affect people in their 30s and 40s.
Kim Dahler from Port Macquarie on the north-north coast of New South Wales was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson's in 2013. She was about 40 years old.
"There are many younger people affected, in hindsight I have had symptoms in my 30s," he said.
"C & # 39; it's a lot of people in the same position and since the symptoms are gradual it doesn't seem to notice the same".
"Actually I didn't identify the symptoms alone, a friend, we were at a conference that was presented to a large group and I was shaking, and she said that it's not just the nerves, it's more," he said. said Mrs. Dahler.
He said it took her a while to get diagnosed, but during that time she did a lot of research and had a good idea of having Parkinson's.
"It took about 12 months to get the diagnosis and it took me a while to come to terms with this, I'm not sure why, stigma, embarrassment, I'm not sure," he said. Mrs. Dahler. .
"I put my head in the sand a little I think, and I just worked."
Live positively with Parkinson's disease
Kim Dahler designed a shirt to help raise awareness of Parkinson's disease. (Assumed: Kim Dahler)
Ms. Dahler said from her initial diagnosis that she had changed her attitude and was focusing on the positive aspects, still working full-time in a challenging job and traveling.
He is also trying to increase understanding of the Parkinson community by telling his story and offering support to others.
"I'm off to the other side now and I want to talk and say it's not the end of the world," he said.
"I work full time, I have to be a little careful with my movements, but life goes on.
"It's not life or death, I just shake a little.
Kim Dahler still works full time, seen here at a Taree event, and said he received a lot of support. (Assumed: Kim Dahler)
"I get a lot of support from my employer, so I'm very lucky.
"It's a balancing act, if I make a big drive I'll stay in a branch for a day just to balance my health, I have to be sensitive and keep it manageable."
Even seeing the lighter side can help.
"You have to have a bit of humor about it – I was fishing with my brother not long ago and, looking at the rod, he said" Is it you or the fish? "Said Mrs. Dahler.
Ms. Dahler also designed a light-hearted t-shirt with the slogan "I don't have DTs." [delerium tremens caused by withdrawal from alcohol], it's just Parkinson's. "
Don't be afraid to ask for support
Gregg Faulkner is chairman of the Port Macquarie Parkinson support group and said that talking to others is important. (Provided: Gregg Faulkner)
Ms. Dahler said that when she was first diagnosed, she did not ask for help, but probably should have done so and is now involved in a support group.
Gregg Faulkner, chairman of the Port Macquarie Parkinson support group, said it was important for people to seek help.
"We have monthly meetings and the most important part is morning tea," he said.
"It's a disease that has a fairly simple cause – there are some cells in the brain that don't produce enough dopamine.
"But the end result of this is physical, psychological, emotional, all kinds of changes and it's a complex web of symptoms.
"I was diagnosed eight years ago, I'm doing pretty well, sometimes my voice goes out, but I'm still president of the local support group, which is growing like crazy, which is a mixed blessing.
"More people are looking for support, but it also indicates that the prevalence of Parkinson's disease in the community is probably higher than we previously understood."
So it's Parkinson's?
According to the national peak institution, Australia's Parkinson's, there are more than 80,000 Australians living with Parkinson's and around 20% are of working age, with many diagnosed between the ages of 30 and 40.
Parkinson's is a progressive and chronic neurological condition that affects the nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine, which is particularly important in controlling movement.
Symptoms, which may include muscle stiffness, tremors and changes in speech and gait, generally develop slowly over the years and vary from person to person.
After diagnosis, treatments can help relieve symptoms, but there is no cure.
Kim Dahler has created a shirt to raise awareness and find some humor. On the back it says "I only have Parkinson's disease". (Assumed: Kim Dahler)
Ms. Dahler said the treatments are always evolving.
"It's changing all the time, every time you are told you have more dosage, or less dosage, change the medications if you're getting the symptoms," he said.
"It's always a balancing act."
April 11 is World Parkinson's Day, with the goal of raising awareness and research money.
charities and community-organizations,
of the community and society,