An estimated one million people in the United States
have Parkinson’s disease. However, there is still a great deal many don’t
understand about the condition and those who suffer from it. This lack of
knowledge can lead to people with Parkinson’s disease not having their symptoms
recognized, their disease going untreated and it could have a serious impact on
their quality of life. Learning more about Parkinson’s can help people with symptoms
receive an earlier diagnosis which could help with early intervention.
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder that
impacts the nervous system. The exact cause is unknown and there is no cure,
but there are a number of treatment options available. The condition mainly
affects dopamine-producing neurons in the part of the brain called the substantia
nigra. The condition often begins in middle or late life, and the risk of
developing it increases as we age. Although, the symptoms vary from person to
person, commonly people with Parkinson’s disease experience hand tremors, slow
body movements, balance problems, rigid muscles, speech problems and
Because the outward symptoms are so well known, many
people make the mistake of believing that Parkinson’s disease only impacts the
motor functions. But, the lesser known or “invisible” symptoms of the disease
are completely unrelated to movement and could have a greater effect on a
person’s quality of life. These invisible symptoms could also be early
indicators of the development of Parkinson’s disease.
Non-motor or invisible Parkinson’s symptoms can
of 750 people recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease conducted by
researchers at the University of Oxford in England found that 99 percent “had at least one ‘non-motor’ symptom,
and many suffered five or more. A number of these symptoms were apparently
untreated, despite the availability of effective treatments.” According to the
research, the study’s participants were also more impacted by their invisible
symptoms than tremors or movement problems. Depression, anxiety and fatigue
were most commonly cited as the symptoms that lowered the quality of life.
Fortunately, the motor and non-motor invisible symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
are treatable and both can be managed with medical interventions.
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