Myths About Parkinson’s

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My Dad had Parkinson's disease. I had never been around anyone who had it before dad. I knew next to nothing about it except the famous Parkinson's shake.

As a result, I didn't handle everything perfectly. (I probably wouldn't have done it perfectly even with all the information in the world!) But, there are things I could have done better.

All we can do is keep learning and applying our new knowledge for the benefit of others. To that end, I felt the need to write some Myth Busters about Parkinson's disease specifically. Ready? Let's go.

 

Myth #1 Since dad had Parkinson's, I'll get it too.

False. Parkinson's is not typically hereditary. Certain environmental factors, such as significant exposure to pesticides or certain heavy metals and repeated head injuries, can increase the risk of Parkinson’s.

Myth #2 Tremors are the only symptom.

False. Tremors and joint stiffness are symptoms, but it also manifests in non-motor symptoms including sleep problemsconstipation, anxiety, depression, and fatigue, among others. Loss of sense of smell, eye and vision problems, lightheadedness, melanoma, and gastrointestinal issues are also common.

Myth #3 Parkinson's only affects older people.

False. Most people who develop the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease do so sometime after the age of 50, but Parkinson’s disease can affect younger persons as well. Approximately 10% of Parkinson’s diagnoses occur before age 50—these diagnoses are called Early Onset (or Young Onset) Parkinson’s disease.

Myth #4 There's nothing you can do to slow it down.

False. There are plenty of things we can do to slow the disease, such as walking, seeing an occupational therapist, deep brain stimulation

Medications can help manage the symptoms,  but there is no cure. Proper nutrition and exercise are the best non-medical ways to slow the progression.

Many of the medications administered have terrible side effects, so be sure to watch for added agitation, hallucinations, or other unusual behavior after administering drugs.

There is still joy to be had after a diagnosis. Many people are able to function for several years without assistance.

Preparation makes for a much easier journey!

Keep looking up, my friends.

If you want to read the early warning signs and symptoms of Parkinson's, go here.

I am an author, speaker, caregiver, and Grammy. The latter is by far the most fun! Having been a primary caregiver 3x, I realized so many lessons were learned too late to benefit my Dad who passed of Parkinson's Disease. I resolved to write a book to make life easier and safer for other caregivers that would get them ideas, inspiration, and lessons learned. It's called "Caregiving: How To Hold On While Letting Go" available on Amazon. I am a Certified Caregiver Consultant and Advocate as well as a Community Educator for the Alzheimer's Assoc. and Founder of The PurpleVine LLC

I want to know more caregiving tips, and resources, plus get FREE gifts!

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