The ABCs of Parkinson’s: ‘G’ Is for Girls, Gaits, and Gifts
A continuation of the “ABCs of Parkinson’s” series.
OK, OK. So I’m reaching for examples of the letter “G” to fit for this section. Girls? Yes, girls, speaking toward the female sex. And there is evidence that between boys and girls — er, men and women — that the men outnumber the women when it comes to Parkinson’s disease.
According to ParkinsonsDisease.net, “Parkinson’s disease (PD) is found more frequently in men than in women, occurring in men 50% more than in women.” Is there a reason, an explanation, for this? According to the same article, researchers haven’t yet discovered the answer to that question but suggest that “the protective effect of estrogen in women” may have a role to play. Researchers also tend to attribute head trauma (such as that found in football players, boxers, etc.), which is higher in men than women, as part of the reason for Parkinson’s.
While there may be differences between men and women when it comes to having Parkinson’s disease, there are also similarities in the symptoms they share with the disease. This includes issues with gait. Because it is one of the symptoms of Parkinson’s that can be seen, it tends to draw undesired attention.
There is a freezing of one’s gait, which is basically just that: the inability to walk in a smooth, fluid motion without stopping. The patient “freezes up” and has difficulty moving or stepping forward.
Patients also have what is known as a shuffling gait, noted by the appearance of the patient dragging their feet and appearing to fall forward when they walk. These symptoms (a freezing or shuffling gait) usually develop over time during the disease’s progression.
Many people with Parkinson’s disease have made reference to having been given a “gift,” so to speak. They feel that priorities shifted after finding out they had Parkinson’s disease. What once was important was no longer, and what is now important, once never was. Family and friendships became foremost. The ability to see what was truly important in life became clearer. Taking things for granted became obsolete and being thankful took on new life. New friendships have formed through having Parkinson’s or being a caregiver of a person with PD.
Gifts don’t have to be wrapped with bows and wrapping paper. Some of the best gifts can’t be wrapped at all, or they come wrapped in flesh. We may have to struggle with other aspects of Parkinson’s disease, but when it comes down to deciding whether PD can be considered a gift or not, it all depends on the recipient.
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.