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SINGAPORE, 11 April 2022 – Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD) can vary from day to day and hour to hour, with more complications arising as the condition progresses. This poses challenges for Persons with Parkinson’s (PwPs), caregivers and healthcare teams managing this condition.
“When we see a patient in the clinic, we can only assess their symptoms at that point in time but this may not be an accurate reflection of their experience over the past few months. So tracking symptoms between appointments is an important part of PD self-care, because it gives the healthcare team a much clearer picture of their condition and how it is progressing. This helps us make appropriate treatment changes to help them manage their symptoms,” said Associate Professor Prakash Kumar, Head of Neurology, Sengkang General Hospital and Senior Consultant, Department of Neurology, National Neuroscience Institute (NNI). He is also an Associate Professor at Duke-NUS Medical School.
To make it easier for PwPs and caregivers to monitor their PD symptoms, staff from NNI, Singapore General Hospital and SingHealth have developed the Parkinson’s Care feature on SingHealth’s Health Buddy application, which was launched today to mark World Parkinson’s Day (11 Apr 2022). Parkinson’s Care includes trackers to record key PD symptoms and complications, such as when the effects of PD medication wear-off, uncontrollable body movements, poor sleep and low blood pressure.
“Most healthcare professionals are concerned about high blood pressure but Parkinson’s can cause low blood pressure and it is also a side-effect of some PD medication. Low blood pressure causes dizziness, light-headedness and weakness, putting PwPs at high risk of falls and this is compounded by other common PD problems such as poor balance and slow movement,” says Assoc Prof Prakash who led the development of Parkinson’s Care.
The Parkinson Society Singapore (PSS) has welcomed the Parkinson’s Care features, saying it will be more convenient for members than using pen and paper.
“Some of our members currently track their symptoms in a notebook but writing difficulties are a common problem with PD and it can be troublesome to use outside the home. A digital journal makes sharing of information with caregivers or loved ones much easier, and the report feature allows for an instant overview of all their symptoms. Medication management with reminders preset is also very useful for both PwP and their caregivers,” says Ms Teh Choon Ling, Centre Manager, Parkinson Society Singapore.
About 3 in 1,000 people aged over 50 years are living with PD in Singapore. It is the second most common neurodegenerative condition in the world and cases are expected to rise with the ageing population.
PwPs, caregivers and the public can find out more about the what to expect at different stages of PD and how to cope with challenges such as low blood pressure, at NNI’s online Parkinson Disease Public Forum, Saturday 30 April, 9.15am–11.40am. Registration is free via the NNI website: https://tinyurl.com/2022pdpf
Parkinson’s Care is available on SingHealth’s Health Buddy app via the yellow Specialty Care tab. Health Buddy is available for download at App Store (Apple) or Google Play Store (Android).