154,970 registered members
Focus on 'invisible' Parkinson's symptoms
[Posted: Thu 03/11/2011 by Deborah Condon www.irishhealth.com]
Tremors are perhaps the most well known symptom associated with Parkinson's disease (PD). However, a new campaign is aiming to raise awareness of some of the lesser known symptoms associated with this condition.
PD is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, which often impairs a sufferer's motor skills and speech. The disease belongs to a group of conditions known as movement disorders. Over 8,000 people in Ireland have it and it is currently the second most common neurodegenerative disorder in the world, after Alzheimer's disease.
PD-related tremors occur when a limb is at rest, but disappear when there is a purposeful movement. They are often more pronounced on one side of the body and affect almost three in four patients. Often, they are the reason a person first seeks medical help.
Other motor features associated with Parkinson's include muscle rigidity and slowness of movement.
However, this latest campaign, ‘Understanding Parkinson's Disease - It Makes Sense', aims to raise awareness of the non-motor symptoms associated with PD. These include a loss of smell, a loss of taste, sleep problems and constipation.
According to the Parkinson's Association of Ireland (PAI), these symptoms can often be considered ‘invisible', yet they are known to have a major impact on the lives of people affected.
"Parkinson's disease is well known for the symptom of the classic tremor, but there are many other non-motor symptoms that take close management and have a huge impact on the quality of life for the Parkinson's patient. Management of these symptoms is long-term and happens in the community," commented PAI chief executive, Joe Lynch.
Alison Cashell, a PAI support nurse, deals with queries from people with PD nationwide. She pointed out that she receives questions about non-motor symptoms on a regular basis.
"Parkinson's patients have to carefully manage their medication, diet, exercise and sleeping habits. Even the smallest change to their routine can have a knock on effect on their day-to-day living. Management of non-motor symptoms is the key to living well with Parkinson's disease post-diagnosis," she explained.
For further information on PD, including non-motor symptoms, click on the PAI's website here. To speak directly to a Parkinson's nurse specialist, call 1800 359 359.
|To join the discussion, register by clicking here|