Joyce Hagen is the facilitator of the Shawano Parkinson’s Support Group. Her husband, Ken, has had the disease for seven years.
The group is for people who have Parkinson’s and their caregivers. They learn the latest treatments and talk about new medications and research.
“There are a lot of things that are going on,” Hagen said. “It’s not a pity party.”
Parkinson‘s is a disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine. It’s a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system causing loss of control of body movement. There is no cure.
The group learns about the progression of the disease, which usually starts around retirement age. It can also affect younger people. Actor Michael J. Fox got it early in life.
“There are a lot of different symptoms,” Hagen said.
Some of them are shakiness, pain, inability to walk straight and losing balance. These things are caused by the brain’s inability to make dopamine.