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Some Facts and Myths


Primary and other symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

The four primary symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease include:

  • Trembling or shaking in hands, arms, legs, jaw, chin or head

  • Stiffness in the arms, legs, back or torso

  • Slowing movement

  • Impaired balance and coordination, including falls

Other Parkinson’s disease symptoms include:

  • Depression and other emotional changes

  • Sleep disruptions

  • Difficulty swallowing, chewing and talking

  • Urinary problems or constipation

  • Skin problems

  • Blank stare or infrequent blinking

Following link includes all the details:


Two new symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

As per a new study Parkinson’s Disease can be detected in early stages even if the primary symptoms are absent.

  • Two new potential early signs of Parkinson’s disease are hearing loss and epilepsy. People with such symptoms should seek doctor’s opinion.

  • As per a study, there also is a link between blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s Disease.

More research needs to be done on the above topics.


Misconceptions About PD

1. Myth: It is disease of only motor functions and produces symptoms related to movement only. Fact: The truth is that PD can also cause non-motor symptoms even before the onset of cognitive impairment or dementia, depression, anxiety, urinary incontinence, constipation, sleep disturbances, and other behavioral changes.

2. Myth: It is a disease of age. Fact: Up to one in five patients with PD are below the age of 50, and half of these are below 40 years at onset.

3. Myth: Many people also think that PD is a genetic disorder. Fact: not more than one in ten cases have a familial component. Environmental factors are thought to play a larger role, in fact, in the genesis of this condition.

4. Myth: Only medication can help. Fact: physical activity is very useful in slowing down the progression of the disease and the decline in quality of life


PD and Sleep

About 2/3rd of those afflicted4 with Parkinson’s disease struggle to get quality sleep. In fact, sleep problems are increasingly recognized as a potential early indicator of Parkinson’s disease.

Sleep disturbances in Parkinson’s patients are contributing risk factors for and cognitive decline itself is known to exacerbate sleep disturbances. Additionally, sleep disturbances in those who suffer from Parkinson’s disease negatively impact daytime alertness and quality of life, not only for the patient but for the caregiver as well. Parkinson’s Disease and sleep disturbance have a bidirectional causality.

PD patients are susceptible to several sleep conditions like:

  • Circadian rhythm disruptions: Sleep – wake cycle is disrupted.

  • REM sleep behavior disorder: This disorder causes people to act out their dreams, though they are unaware of this behavior. It is affecting up to 50 percent of patients.

  • Obstructive sleep apnea: Here patients suffer repeated lapses in breathing that disrupt sleep quality, often accompanied by snoring and gasping.

  • Restless legs syndrome: This is characterized by an irresistible urge to move the legs, especially when at rest. This sleep disorder affects between 30 and 80% of people with Parkinson’s disease and often appears very early on in the disease

  • Nocturia: Frequent night time urination, or nocturia, affects the vast majority of Parkinson’s patients to some degree. Though not technically a sleep disorder, frequent night time urination impairs sleep quality and may result in fragmented, less restorative sleep.

There also are a few simple techniques (sleep hygiene tips) to improve quality of sleep, like:

  • Sticking to regular bedtimes

  • Following a consistent bedtime routine with soothing activities such as listening to music or reading a calming book

  • Getting regular exercise, preferably early in the day

  • Getting adequate exposure to light, whether outdoors or through light therapy

  • Avoiding long naps and naps late in the day

  • Creating a cool, dark, and comfortable sleeping environment

  • Restricting bedtime activities to sleep only

  • Turning off screens an hour before bedtime

  • Reducing liquid intake before bedtime

  • Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco

  • Eating a healthy diet and avoiding large meals at night

There are some therapies as well available to improve quality of sleep.


Parkinson’s and Life expectancy

Most patients with Parkinson’s disease have a normal or near-normal life expectancy.

Modern medications and treatments mean that people can manage their symptoms and reduce the occurrence or severity of complications, which might otherwise be fatal.

Several factors can influence an individual’s life expectancy, including the type of Parkinson’s disease, the age of onset, and a person’s access to healthcare.

Falls and infections is the main risks. If these are covered, then the patient has a normal or near-normal life expectancy.

Following is the original ink that provides detailed risks at each stage of progressions. It also describes the treatment options and lifestyle tips for each stage:

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