The Lazy Man’s Way of Writing About Parkinson’s Disease

Sherri Woodbridge avatar

by Sherri Woodbridge |

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Sometimes we can get confused with all the abbreviations used to communicate in the different Parkinson’s communities. It can be frustrating, especially if you are newly diagnosed or beginning to gather information about the disease. That is why I try to spell out words instead of resorting to shortcuts. (Although I must admit, taking a shortcut is often more appealing than not.)

Not too long ago, I read a comment in an online forum that relates to this topic. The reader was frustrated by a post he had read that was riddled with Parkinson’s references. The majority were made using shortcuts.

I admit that I get confused by some of the abbreviations. You’d think I would have gotten used to them since my diagnosis 15 years ago, but I still find myself Googling some of them.

Following are Parkinson’s words and their abbreviations, which can hopefully be helpful for future reference.

Disease abbreviations

PD is for Parkinson’s disease. Whether a patient or a caregiver, we all know this one before too long. Enough said.

A variation is young-onset Parkinson’s disease, or YOPD.

This form of Parkinson’s occurs in people younger than 50. It is also known as early-onset Parkinson’s disease. A person with young-onset Parkinson’s experiences similar symptoms to a person with “regular” Parkinson’s. Disease progression in younger patients tends to be slower, but this is not always the case.

Another variation of the disease is juvenile Parkinson’s, or JPD. In rare instances, Parkinson’s symptoms can appear in children and teenagers.

DX or Dx is the abbreviation for diagnosis. Although it is fairly well-known, the “X” in DX can stump some people. Where did they come up with that, anyhow?

Medicinal abbreviations

In the U.S., carbidopa/levodopa (C/L) is marketed as Parcopa, Rytary, Sinemet, Sinemet CR, and other brands. The medication is used to treat Parkinson’s symptoms, including muscle stiffness, tremors, spasms, and poor muscle control.

According to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, dopamine agonists (DA) are “a class of drugs commonly prescribed in Parkinson’s disease that bind to dopamine receptors and mimic dopamine’s actions in the brain. Dopamine agonists stimulate dopamine receptors and produce dopamine-like effects.”

Neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (nOH) affects the autonomic system, which controls the body’s automatic functions. A person with nOH cannot properly regulate blood pressure when they move from sitting or lying down to standing, or when they change positions quickly.

ET stands for essential tremor. The abbreviation is not to be confused with the little extraterrestrial guy from outer space — as in “E.T., phone home.” This particular “ET” is a movement disorder often mistaken for Parkinson’s because of the evident and active tremors.

One of the most valuable terms to know is movement disorder specialist (MDS). An MDS is basically a neurologist that specializes in treating movement disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, or Parkinson’s disease.

People with Parkinson’s (PwP)

This category includes several groups of people. These abbreviations cause the most frustration among people with Parkinson’s. 

One of the most commonly used abbreviations I see is HwP: husband with Parkinson’s. Now that you know one, the rest are pretty simple to figure out: wife with Parkinson’s (WwP), single with Parkinson’s (SwP), mouse with Parkinson’s (MwP), doctor with Parkinson’s (MDwP).

There are quite a few MDwPs out there. However, I don’t think they use that abbreviation. We could go on and on, most likely finding other words that would fit.

Additional examples

I also found the following two abbreviations: PDD stands for Parkinson’s disease dementia, and TRAP stands for tremor, rigidity, akinesia, postural instability. I had never seen them before, but there you have it!

Do you know of any Parkinson’s abbreviations that aren’t listed here? Please share in the comments below.


Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.


Natalie avatar


Here's a list someone posted on Facebook.
PD : Parkinson's disease
MDS : Movement Disorder Specialist
DBS : Deep brain stimulation
PDD : Parkinson's disease dementia
PWP : Person with Parkinson's
YOPD : Young onset Parkinson's disease
JPD : Juvenile Parkinson's disease
DA : Dopamine Agonist
C/L : Carbidopa /levodopa
NOH : Neurogenic orthostatic hypotension
DX : Diagnosis
TRAP : Tremor,rigidity,akinesia,postural instability
HWP : Husband with Parkinson
MSA-P: Multiple System Atrophy with
Parkinson's symptons
LID : Levodopa Induced Dyskinesia
DAWS: Dopamine Agonist Withdrawal
FOG: Freezing Of Gait

Jacque Walston avatar

Jacque Walston

Thank you, Sherri for this informative column. I always enjoy your columns whether informative, amusing, thought-provoking, or inspirational.

Gloria Crawford avatar

Gloria Crawford

Do you know what ST stands for. Maybe regarding cognition. Sentence on medical report, "ST is poor, gets fixated on 'something'."


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