Life with Parkinson’s
Never lose hope or your patience because these things are what make humankind a unique species. With diseases and viruses spreading all over the world and newly evolved viruses being discovered in the course of time, it’s having us doubt our abilities and nature of being able to save each other. Don’t give up just yet because science and technology aren’t resting until they find well-deserved treatments and cures.
Learn to adapt and to live with your circumstances. Stay strong for yourself and others!
There’s no doubt that new diseases and evolved viruses have been discovered recently, and for the time being all we can do is wait and be careful. No need to panic, because people who have disorders, like Parkinson’s disease, have learned to adapt and live with it. You should learn from these people to do so and hopefully boost your self-esteem.
How about we walk you through what Parkinson’s syndrome is and what’s it like to have it?
According to The Michael J. Fox Foundation:
Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that leads the person to experience shaking in most parts of the body, stiffness when trying to get up or move, and difficulty with walking, balance, and coordination. It is also called “movement disorder” knowing that it causes serious difficulties while moving. Parkinson’s syndrome (referred to as a syndrome since the condition is characterized by a set of associated symptoms), is considered a lifelong and progressive condition meaning the symptoms and side effects will get worse slowly over time. A lot of people lose the ability to do simple tasks like holding a cup of water without spilling it, getting up and taking a bath, or getting dressed afterward, without feeling any stiffens or slow movement as they do so. Most of the time people sense that they have Parkinson’s disease at the early stages of its symptoms, which is a shake or uncontrollable tremor in their hands. While it slowly continues to spread onto other parts of your body as time passes.
It's commonly known that age is considered a huge factor in Parkinson’s syndrome since people from the ages of 50 and older are more likely to have this condition. Although this condition usually develops with age, some people experience Parkinson’s at the age of 40 and younger. Furthermore, some think that it depends on your gender and that only men are affected by the condition. Well, that’s not true because women do get diagnosed with Parkinson’s as well, but not as much as men do. The disorder affects about 50 percent more men than women.
Patients mostly experience resting tremors, which occurs when you have your hands resting on your lap or on your sides. The tremor forces your hands to shake uncontrollably which makes it difficult to sit or stand still. The slow movement symptom is also experienced with people with Parkinson’s disease, which can be noticed by your friends, family, or doctor, as a decrease in voluntary movement. This results in slower walking, less arm swinging while walking, loss of automatic movement (performing unconscious movements), or decreased blinking or facial expression. Also, muscle stiffness can be added to the list of major symptoms, where people experience difficulty moving, standing up, or other related motor movement activities. Doctors usually can determine this symptom by proper examination of the person’s muscles.
On the other hand, in some unique cases, people with Parkinson’s have experienced out of the ordinary symptoms that are uncommon to find in this condition. Surprisingly researchers have discovered that some symptoms affect the inner body and health of these people with the condition. Psychological effects have been noticed wherein the very early stages,people with Parkinson’s syndrome have experienced instant depression and also other emotions like fear, anxiety, or loss of motivation.
Other health issues might also occur, like eating problems where a person can feel that it’s hard to swallow the simplest foods, which can lead to drooling. Chewing and eating problems also emerge because of the stiffens in your jaw and mouth muscles. Other complications include sleep disorders, which have been noticed in some cases of Parkinson’s, and many other uncommon health symptoms such as constipation, thinking difficulty, blood pressure changes, pain, and more.
What people experience and what symptoms emerge from this disorder actually differ from one person to another. Some people might have all the symptoms, which makes it obvious they have Parkinson’s, while others only experience one or two of the major symptoms in their entire life. But note that slowness is a symptom present in all cases of Parkinson’s syndrome.
Causes of Parkinson’s Disease:
Scientists discovered that the reason behind all of these symptoms, which lead to Parkinson’s, are nerve cells that have become impaired or have died. These cells are located in the area of the brain that controls motor movement and are responsible for the production of dopamine. With these cells dying, less dopamine is being produced which leads to Parkinson’s. Scientists still do not know what causes these cells to die but the theory stands as this might be the cause of the disease.
Meanwhile, other researchers have different theories about the causes of Parkinson’s. Some say that genetic mutations play a role in the development of the disease since certain variations appear to slightly increase its chance of development. On the other hand, some theorize that exposure to certain toxins or environmental factors may increase the risk of later Parkinson's disease, yet the risk is also slim in this case.
It seems that there’s no certain proof or definite origin of how Parkinson’s is caused, which makes it difficult for scientists and researchers to find a cure that will rid people of this treacherous disorder. But know that a lot of people have learned to live and adapt to their incurable disorder. These people have spread hope and inspired millions to fight and adapt to Parkinson’s.
Members from The Michael J, Fox Foundation community have shared their experiences with the disease. According to a Parkinson’s patient Susan Mollohan, she has adapted to her symptoms and has learned how to treat them in a more natural and loving way that she prefers. Susan practices yoga to help her ease the stiffness in her muscles and increase her strength in the process. She says “I am 66 years old (no spring chicken!). I am not an athlete; I am just an average person who is trying to keep her PD at bay “.
With great inspirational people like Susan, people will have more hope of adapting to Parkinson’s.
Another great inspirational story from people living with the disorder is gold medalist Margie Alley who won the Women’s Singles Gold Medal, at the first-ever ITTF World Parkinson’s Table Tennis Championships. Alley talks about her experience with Parkinson’s and how she learned to turn her disability to a gold medal-winning talent. She says ”It was an incredible tournament that was much more than just table tennis. Winning was only one part of the overall experience”. A short movie was made for her, to tell her story, entitled “Gotta Keep Moving”.
Truly motivating and inspiring people are living among us with Parkinson’s disease. So why don’t you be a part of this amazing movement and fight alongside with the others against this horrifying disorder? Lift the spirits and spread the love and hope to people who need it. Some people might just need that extra positive push from you that might save their lives in the process. Don’t give up and stay strong because technology and science haven’t given up on mankind yet.