CRESTVIEW — Holly Jacobs is preparing for the future; for her, that means understanding Parkinson's disease.
The Crestview resident said she has not been diagnosed with the degenerative disorder, but she and her physicians believe she is experiencing the onset. Last July, she experienced tremors in both arms. That was enough for her husband, Gary, to suggest seeing a doctor.
Parkinson's disease, which affects nearly 1 million people in the U.S., causes the malfunction and death of vital nerve cells in the brain and leads to uncontrollable movements, according to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation website.
Parkinson's has several symptoms, including tremors of the hands, arms, face and neck, slowness of movements, limb stiffness and posture instability.
There is no cure for Parkinson's, but medications and medical procedures are available to help treat symptoms. Annual treatments can cost $2,500 per person, and therapeutic surgeries can cost up to $100,000 per patient, according to the foundation.
Jacobs, who has no family history of Parkinson's, said her health insurance can cover those costs. For now, she just wants to learn from those dealing with the disease.
"I want to how they are feeling, about the many medications (available) and what kind of diet helps," she said.
The closest Parkinson's support group is in Pensacola, and that is simply too far for her to travel, Jacobs said.
She hopes to learn from residents in the Crestview area, perhaps by starting a support group, or just meeting one-on-one with someone who's been through the experience.
"I am willing to be a leader or a follower, whatever it takes," she said.
WANT TO HELP?
North Okaloosa residents interested in starting a Parkinson's disease support group can contact Holly Jacobs, 758-7006, or firstname.lastname@example.org.