When you have met one person with Parkinson’s disease, you have met one person with Parkinson’s disease. This is a very common statement amongst the Parkinson’s community. The reason? Because Parkinson’s disease symptoms can vary so much between person to person. Yes, there can be some common symptoms, especially as the disease progresses. But, Parkinson’s does not affect every patient in the same way. In fact, Parkinson’s symptoms, their severity, the order in which the symptoms emerge, the speed with which the symptoms advance vary from individual to individual.
That can make navigating Parkinson’s challenging. As we seek to research more about our condition – we find that there is a great deal of information available to us that may not even be applicable to us. We can even over fear what may be coming and find ourselves worrying about symptoms we don’t even have, at least not yet.
It can even be hard to know what symptoms stem from Parkinson’s, aging in general, or possibly side effects of medication. It is important to remember that with Parkinson’s disease, not everyone will even experience every potential symptom. So when researching, seeing a full list of potential symptoms can quickly overwhelm and dishearten you.
It’s important to focus on the symptoms you are having currently without worrying about the future. Just as you take one day at a time with PD, you take one symptom at a time. That’s what doctors do when they are treating you too. Their treatment path greatly depends on the symptoms that are most bothersome to you to help you determine the best mix of medications.
At the end of the day, only you can determine when symptoms are aggravating enough to warrant further treatment and therapy options.
Symptoms can also vary between motor and non-motor symptoms and non-motor symptoms may be harder for us to recognize.
The Parkinson Association of Alabama has recently launched the Parkinson’s Disease Resource Center at www.parkinsonalabama.com. Under the topic of Treatments and Therapies on the main menu, you will find a tab named Symptom Management. Each potential symptom has been listed in a red box where you can click to learn more about each symptom, and treatment options for that particular symptom.
At first glance, there are a lot of red boxes. That is why it is so important to only focus on your specific journey. We are trying to meet everyone’s needs through one resource – but your journey into exploring symptoms should be focused on what your specific needs are at the moment.
One of the best things you can do to help your doctor or movement disorder specialist navigate the best treatment plan for you is to be honest with yourself and list your specific symptoms, and prioritize that list into the ones that are most bothersome. This will allow your doctor and you to maximize your discussion time together to come up with the best solutions with treatment. And don’t forget, there are many lifestyle factors, exercises and therapies that can greatly impact and improve symptoms as well.