What Parkinson’s Isn’t: 6 Myths Debunked

What is Parkinson’s disease? This is a question many of us have asked our neurologists, but the answers can be confusing. This is because we are still learning about this disorder and it’s impact on our lives. However, we do know what Parkinson’s isn’t.

Parkinson’s isn’t curable

First and foremost, as many of you know, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. But before you get too discouraged, if you’re going to get it, now is a great time to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s. We have made such huge medical advances in the last decade alone, that now we have an arsenal of weapons to use against PD. Imagine being diagnosed with Parkinson’s in the early 1900’s… I shudder.

Parkinson’s isn’t just a movement disorder

Since its discovery in 1817, Parkinson’s disease was believed to only effect posture, mobility, gait, and balance. But now we realize just how PD can impact a person in a multitude of ways, including non-motor symptoms. Top offenders include: constipation, bladder control, drooling, swallowing, memory, depression, anxiety, sleep issues, cognition, and impaired executive functioning. Our Neurologists have their work cut out for them.

Parkinson’s isn’t going to kill you

Although you won’t die from having Parkinson’s disease, you can die from its complications. This can include aspiration of food, traumatic falls, infection, or sepsis. Just remember, you don’t die from Parkinson’s disease, you die with it.

Parkinson’s isn’t an old person’s disease.

Although PD is more common in the elderly population, there is a subset of Parkies who are under the age of 40. Like yours truly…

Parkinson’s isn’t gender specific

Even though there are more men diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease than women, PD doesn’t discriminate. Some of the major differences between the sexes of Parkies is hormone levels, coping skills, lifestyle choices and careers (men could possibly be more exposed to chemicals, such as pesticides).

Parkinson’s isn’t a walk in the park

When I was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, I was naïve to believe that I would only be inconvenienced by a slower pace or struggle with a slight tremor. That was based on the only person I knew who had Parkinson’s… Michael J. Fox. He didn’t look that bad. Maybe I will get a mild case of PD… kind of like the watered-down version. Ignorance is bliss, eh?

Oh, man was I wrong. 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. Parkinson’s isn’t a walk in the park. It is emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausting. But the one thing that you can count on is your Wolfpack (people who support you). They will take that stroll with you through the botanical garden of life.

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10 comments on “What Parkinson’s Isn’t: 6 Myths Debunked

  1. Laura D27 says:

    I was in denial for the first year after i received my diagnosis. Thankfully, my symptoms increased and grew stronger. Now, I’m ready to do something about them. Articles like this are very helpful.

  2. Chris H. moderator says:

    Thanks for sharing that, Laura D27! We’re so glad to hear that the article was helpful. Wishing the best for you on this journey! – Chris, ParkinsonsDisease.net Team Member

  3. Great points Allison. There are enough misconceptions about what PD is and isn’t and you’ve shattered six pretty important ones.

  4. PDhelper says:

    With all due respect to Allison, the last sentence of the second myth: ‘Neurologists have their…’, it is Parkies who have THEIR work cut out for them. Staying safe and independent is a long-term, very difficult compensation training process (Myth 6), and the medical profession has no solutions. Parkies can and must invest in themselves, as a group, to learn about the symptoms of PD and about effective daily compensation exercises.

  5. Allison Smith author says:

    Absolutely, Parkies need to be their own advocates, but it takes many people i.e. Neurologist, Neurosurgeons, Parkies, caring partners, family and friends to find the best game plan to live life to it’s fullest. You bring up a good point. Thank you for your comment.

  6. Marcia says:

    Another excellent article lady. Thank you for being fourth what so many do not understand about PD. Hugs great job

  7. Gabro13 says:

    Great article Alison.

    I especially liked the last section. The sentence “Parkinson’s isn’t a walk in the park. It is emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausting.” I just might have this tattooed on my forehead…… Well maybe printing it on a t-shirt would be better, Lol.

  8. Allison Smith author says:

    Ha! Yeah, maybe even a bumper sticker will do! Thank you for your comment!

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