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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!

Lesser-known symptoms

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.

How Does Parkinson’s Affect Vision?

“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

“What Did You Say?”: My Speech Issues with Parkinson’s

“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

My Many Moods with Parkinson’s

“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

Living with Apathy: “Because I Just Don’t Want To!”

“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

Hallucinations and Delusions in Parkinson’s

“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

Constipation in Parkinson’s: Triggers and Treatments

“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

Peripheral Neuropathy and Parkinson’s: The Connection

“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

Complementary treatments

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.

Nutrition Needs for People with Parkinson’s: High Protein Diet?

“I want my dad to see that with the right diet, life could be different.” – Juwairiya Syed

Which Foods are Good & Which Foods Should be Avoided with Parkinson’s?

“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.

A Letter to my Former Self: Surviving a Parkinson’s Diagnosis

“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

When You Feel Discounted and Ignored by Your Doctor…

“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

What Parkinson’s Isn’t: 6 Myths Debunked

“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.

Searching for Silver Linings: How to Stay Positive with Parkinson’s

“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

PD Pundit: Reflecting on 18 Years with Parkinson’s

“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

Life with Parkinson’s

“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

What Keeps Me Motivated While Living with Parkinson’s?

“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

Community Views: Finding Peace with a Parkinson’s Diagnosis

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.

Couples & Parkinson’s: Not Fight(ing) Club

“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

Loving the Man – NOT Loving Parkinson’s

“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

Secrets, Fears, & Vulnerabilities with Parkinson’s: Part 1

“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

Keeping the Romance Alive: 5 Tips to Help Improve the Relationship

“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!

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