Seven Common Parkinson's Misconceptions
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The general public makes seven common misconceptions with relation to
Parkinson's disease. Dispelling these myths will go a long way to creating
awareness about this incurable neurological disorder and allow those
afflicted with it to feel more comfortable in society.
common misconception is that Parkinson's disease only affects the elderly.
This is absolutely fals. Although this disease does tend more often to
strike those in late middle age, that is in their fifties or early
sixties, it does also occur in younger people. In recent years, an average
of 5-10 percent of newly diagnosed cases of Parkinson's disease were
early-onset, that is they were been found in people under the age of 40.
Younger patients don't tend to suffer from walking or balance-related
issues or have their thinking processes impaired as often as older
patients but they do often experience vibrations and involuntary movements.
second misconception is that all people with Parkinson's disease suffer
from tremors. Tremors are the most common symptom of Parkinson's disease.
Tremors are found in approximately 70 percent of sufferers, however 15-25
percent of Parkinson's patients do not experience any form of tremors at
Public perception often unfairly stereotypes Parkinson's
patients as being miserable, rude or stupid. As the disease progresses,
sufferers develop more and more difficulties in their ability to
communicate with others. Problems with speech, swallowing, drooling, and
jerky facial and body movements result in people labeling a Parkinson's
patient unfairly. Some people, unaware of a person's condition, wrongly
believe that person to be inebriated when their speech is slurred.
fourth common misconception is that there is a way to prevent Parkinson's
disease. Researchers have not identified the exact cause of the disease
and therefore absent this information, prevention is impossible. Most,
however, do believe that Parkinson's disease is caused by a combination of
environmental factors coupled with a genetic predisposition.
fifth misconception is that lifestyle modifications have no impact in
improving disease symptoms. In fact, the reverse is true. Regular
exercise, particularly muscle-strengthening exercises and walking, and
accompanying dietary changes cannot slow the progression of the disease
but can decrease the severity of symptoms.
The sixth common
misconception is that people with Parkinson's disease are unable to live
independent and productive lives. This is patently untrue. The progression
of the disease differs greatly between individuals. Some individuals
suffer milder forms of Parkinson's than do others. Not everyone
experiences the same combination of symptoms or equal severity of
symptoms. With medication, regular exercise and dietary considerations
most Parkinson's sufferers can live independently and be as productive as
anyone else. Initially many do not need to quit their jobs, although some
may as their disease progresses and their condition deteriorates.
seventh common misconception is that Parkinson's disease causes death.
Parkinson's has not been proven fatal although patients suffering from it
do have particular health concerns. The disease may wreak havoc on the
respiratory system, which has a tendency to lead to pneumonia, under
certain conditions. A form of pneumonia known as aspiration pneumonia is
of particular concern. Many sufferers develop problems with swallowing
which can cause aspiration of food adn lead to aspiration pneumonia.
Additionally, a lack of movement can cause a person to be more susceptible
to developing a variety of infections. Many Parkinson's patients don't
develop any of the above problems and continue live with the disease
anywhere from 20-30 years after diagnosis.