Not Just a “Motor Condition:” Your Dulles Neurology Expert Debunks Myths about Parkinson’s Disease
Statistics show that approximately 60,000 individuals in America are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease every year. Experts believe that, by 2020, this population will reach around one million in the US alone. Despite these alarming figures, various misconceptions continue to plague this devastating condition. Our resident Dulles neurology expert, Dr. Sarbjot Dulai, dissects some of the most common myths about the disease and why it is imperative that people stop spreading them.
The 5 Most Common Myths about Parkinson’s Disease
Understanding is crucial when dealing with or taking care of someone with Parkinson’s disease. Make sure these myths do not mar your knowledge of this neurological condition.
- MYTH #1: Parkinson’s disease is a death sentence.
REALITY: Parkinson’s disease is devastating but not fatal.
Although Parkinson’s disease is a devastating condition, it is not a death sentence. Unlike a heart attack, it is neither a direct nor a spontaneous killer. Patients diagnosed with the condition can live long provided that they receive quality care and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
As Parkinson’s progresses, the patient becomes more vulnerable to certain risks. The motor symptoms make them more prone to bruises, scrapes, falls, and other mishaps due to impaired movement. Nonmotor symptoms may also affect their lifestyle. Infection is another concern as the disease lowers the immune system. This is why it is crucial for patients to have regular checkups with a neurologist in Leesburg, VA.
- MYTH #2: The effects of Parkinson’s are limited to impaired motor skills.
REALITY: The effects of Parkinson’s go beyond impaired motor skills.
Rigidity, tremors, flawed balance, “frozen” facial expressions, and the gradual loss of spontaneous movement are some of Parkinson’s most characteristic symptoms —all of which involve the impairment of motor abilities. However, these are not the only way the condition impacts its sufferers. Patients with Parkinson’s disease may also experience:
- Difficulty in speaking clearly
- Difficulty in keeping up speaking volume
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
- Heightened salivation
- Urinary incontinence
- Increased sweating
- Visual hallucinations
- Difficulty with visual-spatial relations
- Daytime sleepiness
- REM sleep behavior disorder
- Difficulty in concentrating
For some patients, nonmotor symptoms are more debilitating than motor symptoms.
- MYTH #3: Parkinson’s disease is caused by genetics.
REALITY: Parkinson’s disease’s causes are undetermined.
Studies show that only around 5% of the people with the disease are genetically tied to someone with the condition. As of June 2019, researchers have yet to pinpoint the exact causes of Parkinson’s disease.
Genetics, inflammations, and viruses have been linked to the condition. According to the National Institutes of Health, it is highly likely that the chemicals present in a person’s environment affect their chances of developing the condition.
- MYTH #4: Everyone with Parkinson’s experience tremors.
REALITY: Not everyone with Parkinson’s experience tremors.
While tremor is the most prominent symptom of Parkinson’s disease, not all sufferers experience them. Some patients either don’t experience symptoms until the latter stages of the condition or don’t experience them at all. If you think you or someone you know is experiencing the previously mentioned symptoms, consult a neurologist in Leesburg immediately.
- MYTH #5: Parkinson’s treatments and medications cause symptoms.
REALITY: Parkinson’s treatments and medications lessen symptoms.
This misconception partly stems from the fact that Parkinson’s disease has no cure. Doctors recommend drug therapy and other treatment plans to their patients for symptom management purposes. Note, however, that while taking such measures blunts the impact of the condition, it doesn’t necessarily erase the effects of the disease.
Another reason why this myth persists is the alleged toxicity of Levodopa, Parkinson’s main drug therapy. Many people linked its potency against motor symptoms to the progression of the disease. Decades’ worth of research on the subject, however, has thoroughly debunked this misconception.
Learn More about Parkinson’s Disease
Schedule an appointment with our Dulles neurology specialist to learn more about this condition. Dr. Sarbjot Dulai can give you a more in-depth take on Parkinson’s disease and answer any questions you may have about the condition. He can also:
- Determine if you’re suffering from Parkinson’s Disease
- Help you manage the symptoms and effects of the condition
- Identify and recommend the best treatment options for you
- Offer expert advice on how to help someone with the disease
Don’t let misconceptions affect your perception of this devastating condition. Call (703) 726-6393 to talk to our neurology expert today!