Shortage of SWFL doctors to treat patients with Parkinson’s disease

Doctors examine medical information. (Credit: WINK News)
Doctors examine medical information. (Credit: WINK News)

Once a week, neighbors gather at the Carlisle Retirement Community for a group workout. Challenged with endurance and movement by the looks of it, a person would not be able to tell that they all are dealing with Parkinson’s disease.

“To live well with the disease, exercise is one of the most important things someone can do,” said Linda Goldfield, executive director Parkinson’s Association for SWFL.

The number of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s is rapidly growing. Experts coin it as the Parkinson’s pandemic. Every nine minutes, someone across America is diagnosed with the disease.

Golfiled expects by 2040, Parkinson’s patients will outnumber those with Alzheimer’s disease as more people are being diagnosed. It is a number that will significantly exceed the specialists who help Parkinson’s patients.

The Parkinson’s Association of SWFL said there are no licensed movement disorder specialists in Collier County. Lee County has one. Instead, those patients can still get care from a neurologist.

“A movement disorder specialist has been specifically trained in Parkinson’s disease and is aware of up-to-date studies that are taking place, clinical trials, and new drugs that are in the pipeline that may be available,” Golfiled said.

Michael J. Fox, actor and Parkinson’s patient, is working on getting more neurologists interested in specializing the disease.

“We need to get the word out there about Parkinson’s,” said Jan Mueller, Parkinson’s patient, “and the number of people expected to be diagnosed.”

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