Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects dopamine-producing (“dopaminergic”) neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra.
Generally, symptoms develop slowly over years. Progression of symptoms varies from one person to another due to the variance of the disease.
1. Everyone with Parkinson’s Disease has Tremors
Tremors are the most notable symptom of PD, but it is not the only symptom people experience when living with the disease. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, many symptoms of PD are invisible or non-movement symptoms. These can include cognitive changes (attention, memory), depression. sleep disorders (insomnia, REM sleep behaviour disorder, constipation, incontinence, light-headedness, loss of smell, feeling full with little food, and vision changes.
2.Parkinson’s Disease only occurs in the Elderly
While Parkinson’s is diagnosed at an average age of 60, the disease can affect younger people as well. According to Parkinson’s Foundation YOPD-Young, Onset Parkinson’s disease affects about 4% of the million people with PD. In rare cases, PD-like symptoms, called Juvenile Parkinsonism, can appear in children and teenagers.
3. There’s Nothing You Can Do to Control It, Aside from Medication
Medication can be very effective in managing the symptoms of PD, however, there are other ways to manage Parkinson’s. Making lifestyle changes can improve the quality of life. Regular exercise and a diet of fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants such as green and orange vegetables, nuts, raspberries and blueberries. Research has shown that there are benefits to “regular exercise routines of walking, strength training, or Tai Chi,” as well as noncontact boxing to improve mobility, balance, and coordination.
4. Parkinson’s Disease Can Only Be Managed by a Neurologist
There have been multiple studies that have shown that most people living with PD don’t need it to be managed regularly by a neurologist. A study published by researchers at Mayo Clinic found that primary care physicians can feel comfortable managing PD, especially if the patient brings their complete strategy plan, what is and is not working, their lifestyle choices. Many areas do not have a specialist so it is important to provide the physician will all details of the condition and what is and is not working. As mentioned before, each person is unique and treatment will be provided accordingly.
5. If a person with Parkinson’s looks Good, they Feel Good
We can never truly know the level of pain someone with Parkinson’s is living with. Some days may be easier than others even when they may appear like they are feeling good. The Parkinson’s Foundation indicates medications that people take for PD can wear off between doses. Symptoms fluctuate, and not all of them are visible.
The way that they appear at one moment may not reflect the way that they feel most of the time. Even if their medication can control tremors, those with nonmotor symptoms of PD still may not feel well even though appear well.
Living with chronic illness is never easy for the person and the people in their support system. With proper medical interventions, lifestyle changes, and additional In-Home Care, living a fulfilling, happy life is possible. A Promyse Home Care professional in-home caregiver can help with personal care, light housekeeping, medication management, accompaniment to appointments and outings, stimulation activities, and more.