Some 120 residents of Iron County are dealing with Parkinson's Disease. That's according to members of the Southwest Parkinson's Alliance (SWPA) who joined us on the radio to talk about the annual Southwest Parkinson's Alliance Awareness meeting. 

“By formula it's about 120,” Dan Dail told us. Dail is a founder with the SWPA along with being a fitness consultant. “There’s several formulas to calculate Parkinson's disease,” he continued. “The one I like to use is 6 people for every thousand people over the age of 45, so that includes young onset Parkinson's as well. And depending on what which census you use, which data you used (it’s) a little bit different.” 

Parkinson's Disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by a progressive loss of motor function due to the deterioration of dopamine-producing cells in the brain. Named after the British physician James Parkinson who first described its symptoms in 1817, it affects approximately 1% of people over the age of 60, although it can also occur earlier in life. The exact cause of Parkinson's Disease is unknown, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

SWPA / Facebook
SWPA / Facebook

Collin Dawson is the Head Coach and Proprietor for SWPA and described what many people with Parkinson’s Disease deal with. “Most people with Parkinson's run into issues with loss of balance, coordination, movement. I think one symptom that a lot of people will notice is the tremor that's very common for people with Parkinson’s. Unfortunately, right now there's not a cure, but we do what we can to help people fight back against Parkinson's and slow it down.” 

And When Dawson says fight, there is a somewhat literal meaning. One of the methods members of SWPA use to slow down the disease is by participating in the Rock Steady Boxing program where people use boxing as an exercise program. Dawson, along with Cassidy Bates got involved with that as being a part of the Utah Health Scholars program at Southern Utah University. 

“Rock Steady boxing is a fitness program specially catered towards people with Parkinson's disease to help give them high intensity exercise, increased dopamine production, and help slow down the effects of Parkinson's. And so we got involved through SUU. We both coach these boxing classes to help people with Parkinson's,”  Dawson explained. 

To bring more attention to those dealing with Parkinson’s Disease, SWPA is hosting an awareness event on Tuesday, April 9th.  

“There will be a little event at the Senior Center here in town,” Dawson said, continuing “at the event, there will be resources for people with Parkinson's...a physical therapist. occupational therapists. The main focus is to talk about falling. With Parkinson's disease, something that happens a lot. Is that loss of balance and falling becomes more and more common.” 

SWPA / Facebook
SWPA / Facebook

The awareness meeting will be held at the Cedar City Senior Center located at 489 E 200 S. The event is scheduled to start at 1:00PM and should be finished around 3:00PM. The event is free and is open to anyone in the community that wants to learn more about Parkinson’s Disease.  

By declaration from Mayor Garth Green, April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month here in Cedar City, so attending the Tuesday event may bring you more understanding of this second most common neurodegenerative disease in the United States. 

You can listen to our discussion with members of the Southwest Parkinson’s Alliance below (although the first minute of the recording was lost).

Leading Causes of Death in Utah

The CDC compiled the leading causes of death in Utah

Gallery Credit: Dr. T

More From KSUB 590/107.7