Top Parkinson's Reads of 2020: A Year in Review
As the end of the year approaches, we wanted to take a moment to look back and share some of the most-read articles from 2020.
Many community members were interested in learning more about the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Complementary treatments and the many challenges that come with diagnosis were also important areas of interest throughout the year.
How to cope and embrace life with PD, as well as tips for maintaining strong relationships with loved ones, rounded out the topics our community members enjoyed. If you missed any of them or are wanting to reread on any topic, we have gathered them all here for you!
As doctors and researchers learn more about PD, it is clear that the condition has a far-reaching effect on the mind and body. Some of the community’s favorite articles focused on the many non-motor symptoms of PD. The mental, emotional, and sensory symptoms experienced by many are explored in the articles below.
“Parkinson’s can impair mobility of the eyes just like the limbs. There are several kinds of visual disturbances that may be experienced by people with Parkinson’s.” – Editorial Team
“Yep, another of those nasty symptoms had raised its ugly head. I finally recognized that my voice had softened and that sometimes I had difficulty swallowing.” – Tom Sheppard
“Deep breathing and shutting up go a long way to not being Bad Mood Guy or Gal. Through experience, I can tell when my mind is off.” – Dan Glass
“Apathy is a serious non-motor symptom in persons with Parkinson’s. When prolonged, it has a negative effect on quality of life.” – Lorraine Wilson
“Living with the motor symptoms can be hard, but behavior changes can be even more frustrating and challenging, with a greater impact on quality of life.” – Editorial Team
“In my personal experience, living with constipation ranks high on the list of the worst symptoms to control and to live with.” – Maria De Leon
“The more we learn about Parkinson’s, a neurodegenerative disorder, the more we are finding it to be a systemic condition, affecting the whole body, not just a motor disorder.” – Editorial Team
Parkinson’s treatment can take different forms, from prescribed drugs to physical therapy. A few popular articles from this year discussed complementary treatments like dietary changes. These may offer some help in managing PD symptoms.
“I want my dad to see that with the right diet, life could be different.” – Juwairiya Syed
“If you are having problems swallowing, you should let your doctor know. Foods that are sour, seasoned, or carbonated may help you to make more saliva. This may help you swallow better. “ – Editorial Team
Diagnosis and learning more about PD
Being diagnosed with Parkinson’s is a major life change. It can feel overwhelming at times, whether you are newly diagnosed or further along in your journey. Parkinson’s can often be mistaken or misdiagnosed at first. A few diseases that bear similarities to PD include:
- Essential tremors
- Lewy body dementia
- Multiple system atrophy
- Progressive supranuclear palsy
After you are accurately diagnosed with PD, having a team of medical professionals to support you becomes important. In addition to your neurologist and primary care doctor, a nutritionist, physical therapist, and mental health professional often make up the team.
Another member to consider is a movement disorder specialist. A movement disorder specialist can work with a PD patient at any point, newly diagnosed or further progressed.
A Parkinson’s diagnosis changes your life. PD comes with a wide variety of symptoms to manage. It takes a toll, and sometimes you feel alone and isolated. For those days when it is hard, these articles can provide connection.
“There will be days you will want to quit. I know you can do this not just because I am like you but because I AM YOU.” – Heather Kennedy
“I feel invisible and unheard. And I deserve better. I know there are others like me out there. And you deserve better, too.” – Nikki Louiselle
“I learned quickly that Parkinson’s would negatively impact many facets of my life and that each day will present a challenge of some sort.” – Allison Smith
Coping and staying positive
When facing a chronic, progressive disease like Parkinson’s, staying positive can be challenging. Some days are rough. These are some of the favorite reads from advocates who share how they stay positive and find peace with PD.
“It’s often tough to see the good in difficult situations, but I really believe it’s gotten me through the last 6 years. Positivity is by far the best treatment I have in my arsenal.” – Emma Lawton
“18 years of dealing with inconvenient 'off times.’ But this, too, 18 years of drinking coffee in the morning with my wife.” – Peter Dunlap-Shohl
“Parkinson’s will never take a day off or a week of vacation. Living with Parkinson’s takes hope, positivity, persistence, mindfulness, and a strong will to live.” – Frank Church
“I will be the first to admit that there are many days when I would rather stay at home and do nothing. More often than not, it is the people around me who keep me going.” – Sharon Krischer
In this article, community members responded to the prompt, “I feel at peace when ________.” Answers ranged from “I am with my grandkids” to “I am at the beach.”
Love and relationships
Communication is one of the most important things in navigating relationships impacted by PD. Parkinson’s adds an additional layer of difficulty to the struggles that plague all couples. It is important to find ways of modifying plans and goals to stay connected.
Many things you enjoy as a couple can still be done while acknowledging Parkinson’s presence within the relationship. These articles discuss some of the ways our advocates have found for staying connected to and supporting their spouses.
“The not so wonderful thing about Parkinson’s or any cruddy life situation is that it tests not only the person it happens to, but its debris lands on anyone within arm’s length.” – Dan Glass
“But here’s where adaptation comes in and turns Parkinson’s into a teacher. Instead of taking a walk or a hike right now, we might drive around taking pictures at overlooks until the medication kicks in.” – Angela Robb
“Our hiding of illness is not protecting people. Everyone can help with something, but partners and close ties need to know the whole story.” – Dan Glass
“Devote time to one another and address your discomfort and insecurities as well as the good with your loved one.” – Karl Robb
Thank you for helping to make this a community full of useful information, helpful advice, and amazing support. We hope you enjoy looking back and remembering or savoring for the first time some of these favorite reads!
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to PD?