Parkinson’s disease is a continuously developing neurodegenerative brain disorder that worsens slowly over time. This disease leads to irregular functioning and death of neurons in the brain which produces the chemical, dopamine. This leads to a loss of control over movement and other complications.
Here are some myths and facts related to Parkinson’s disease that you should know:
Myth 1: A person who looks good even after a diagnosis of Parkinson’s can be assumed to be in good shape.
Fact: Patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s can have varying symptoms, which may or may not be visible all the time. So, even if a person looks good, they may not be feeling well always due to non-motor symptoms. Thus, it is important to keep a track of the symptoms and if there is any pattern of change to help decide the best possible care.
Myth 2: Parkinson’s is often thought to be the cause when a patient is feeling generally unwell.
Fact: Weakness, fever, headache, vision loss, vertigo, as well as chest pain, are not always due to Parkinson’s and may require medical attention.
Myth 3: The only symptoms of Parkinson’s are tremor, stiffness, and slowness in movement.
Fact: These are not the only symptoms of PD. Along with tremor, slowness in movement, and stiffness, the symptoms of Parkinson’s include fatigue, sleep disorder, anxiety, sweating, pain and tingling, lightheadedness, depression, impairment of the sense of smell, and sexual dysfunction. With proper treatment, some of the non-motor symptoms can be treated. However, it requires proper symptom tracking and consultation with the doctor.
Myth 4: The symptoms of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s suddenly worsens.
Fact: It is important to find the underlying cause, if the symptoms of Parkinson’s are found to be worsening. Infection, surgery, change in medication, dehydration and other medical problems can be the reason behind the worsened symptoms. It is important to search for better and more suitable medicines as antipsychotic drugs, lithium, valproic acid, promethazine, prochlorperazine, metoclopramide can worsen the symptoms.
Myth 5: It is better to wait before taking the next dose of medicine.
Fact: For medicines like levodopa to work effectively, it is best taken before the earlier doses wear off.
Myth 6: Medicine like levodopa stops being effective after 5 years.
Fact: Medicine like levodopa improves the quality of life and helps to treat motor-related symptoms noted in PD. It also increases the span of life.
Myth 7: Medicine brands like levodopa and carbidopa are available in different colors.
Fact: The color differentiation is not brand specific. Irrespective of the brands, 25/100 mg standard tablets are generally yellow in color. So, it is important to verify the dose to avoid errors in medication dosage.
Myth 8: Doctors can predict the course of the disease and the patient’s future.
Fact: Parkinson’s is unique for each patient and no doctor can predict which course the disease will take. However, the patient can help control the disease by taking proper food and sleeping adequately and exercising regularly. These will also improve quality of life, increase stamina, and uplift the mood.