The ABCs of Parkinson’s: ‘I’ Is for Invisibility
A continuation of the “ABCs of Parkinson’s” series.
When people hear Parkinson’s disease (PD) mentioned, their memory likely turns to thoughts of Michael J. Fox or someone who shakes all the time. Their memory would serve them well. However, if that is the only thing they think of at the mention of PD, their memory needs more input.
Parkinson’s includes shaking, involuntary movements, rigidity, a stone face, an awkward gait, and other outward signs. What most people without PD aren’t aware of is that the disease is also known for invisible symptoms. Because of its invisible symptoms, it is classified as one of many invisible illnesses along with diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and more.
Many patients aren’t even aware of some invisible symptoms that are prevalent with PD until they’re diagnosed, causing extra anxiety over how to deal with all that’s happening. Based on stories from others with PD, I would even say some doctors are even unaware of some of the signs. That is one reason it is extremely important to find a movement disorder specialist (MDS) as soon as possible. A neurologist is good, as they’re specialized in a certain niche of medicine. An MDS is better, having gone a step further and specialized within the niche of Parkinson’s itself.
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Some commonly known invisible signs are the loss of smell, handwriting changes, and fatigue. Some lesser-known signs are internal tremors, rigidity or stiffness, nightmares and difficulty sleeping, restless leg syndrome, hallucinations, anxiety, depression, poor balance, inability to get comfortable when sitting or lying down, memory problems, apathy, incontinence, constipation, drooling, and more.
Parkinson’s may appear invisible, but its symptoms are undeniable in the patient. Someone with PD may appear to be doing fine, but just ask them what’s going on beneath their skin. All may not be as it appears.
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 Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.