You have just been diagnosed. Or you have been living with PD for 20 years. How much do you really know about Parkinson’s? What is your Parkinson’s IQ? Take this test and find out:
- MDS stands for a) multiple doctors who treat your Parkinson’s b) Movement Disorders Specialist c) My Dog Spot
- Dyskinesia is a) Strange, jerky movements b) You can’t remember song titles c) Bad dancing at the Disco
- A DaTSCaN is what? a) a CT scan for Dogs b) a brain scan that helps diagnose Parkinson’s c) I have no idea
- What are internal tremors ? a) shaking in your house b) small tremors before an earthquake c) the feeling that you are shaking inside your body
- Dystonia is a) uncontrollable and intense muscle spasms b) bad sounding music c)you are tone deaf and cannot carry a tune
- Parkinson’s can be caused by a) pesticides b) genetic mutations c) traumatic brain injury d) sometimes we just don’t know e) microbes in your gut f) all of the above
- Everyone with Parkinsons has visible tremors. a) true b) false
- Women account for what percentage of people with Parkinson’s? a) 10% b) 35%. c)50% d)75%
- The average age of onset for Parkinsons is a) 40 b) 50 c) 60 d) 70
- Research has shown that Exercise is one of the best things you can do to live well with Parkinsons. Which of the following exercises are recommended? A) running b) swimming c) yoga. d) boxing. e) dancing f)cycling g) tai chi h) all of the above I) none of the above
Correct answers: 1 b, 2 a, 3 b, 4 c, 5 a, 6 f, 7 b, 8 b, 9 c, 10 h
How did you do?
0-5 You need to read to the end of this post and then take a look at some of my favorite websites and books about PD
6-8 Almost an expert, a little more studying and you will be a……
9-10 PD Superstar! You can write this for me
- MDS stands for Movement Disorders Specialist, a neurologist who has received extra training in Parkinson’s Disease and other movement disorders. If you are currently seeing a neurologist, you may want to consult with a MDS occasionally to make sure you are getting the right information and treatment.
- Dyskinesias are involuntary, erratic, writhing movements of the face, arms, legs or trunk. They are often fluid and dance-like, but they may also cause rapid jerking or slow and extended muscle spasms. They are not a symptom of Parkinson’s itself. Rather, they are a complication from some Parkinson’s medications. (Parkinson’s Foundation website)
- DaTSCAN™ is a specialized imaging technique that allows doctors to capture detailed pictures of the dopamine neurons in your brain. This technique involves the use of a radiopharmaceutical agent (a chemical compound containing an isotope, or radioactive element). The radiopharmaceutical agent is injected into a vein and taken up by the brain’s dopamine cells. The cells can then be detected through SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) scanning. In this way it is possible to determine whether there is a reduction in dopamine cells, which usually occurs in the presence of Parkinson’s disease. (Michael J Fox Foundation)
- Internal tremors seem to be a well kept secret among People with Parkinson’s.Internal tremors are shaking sensations felt inside the body. They occur without visible movement, which external tremors produce. A person may experience internal tremors in the trunk, arms, legs, or internal organs.
- Dystonia is a sustained or repetitive muscle twisting, spasm or cramp that can occur at different times of day and in different stages of Parkinson’s disease (PD). People with PD most commonly complain of a painful dystonia of the foot on their more severely affected side. (Parkinsons Foundation)
- Most people have Idiopathic PD, meaning there is no known cause. A small percentage have a genetic mutation (LRRK2, PINK1 or GBA), traumatic brain injury or pesticide exposure as their cause. Finally, the latest research shows there may be a connection between microbes in your gut and PD.
- Most people with PD do not have visible tremors at the beginning They may have stiffness, Dystonia or other symptoms that are not readily visible. Some people with visible tremors do NOT have Parkinson’s. They may have Essential Tremor or some other type of tremor.
- Men are diagnosed more than women by a margin of about 2:1. However, it often takes women much longer to get a diagnosis, especially if pre-menopausal. (more on that in a future post)
- The average age for onset is 60. Although aging increases the odds of having PD, we are not all old. Persons diagnosed under 50 are considered young onset or YOPD. Michael J Fox is a prime example of someone diagnosed at a young age.
- Exercise in any way, shape or form is recommended, as long as you do not do something that will cause injury. Start slow if you have been inactive for a long time, either with a physical therapist or personal trainer. The more intense exercise you do, the better, showing longer lasting effects. Walking the dog, briskly, PD Dance classes, PD Boxing classes, yoga classes are just a few suggestions. Find something you like so that you will continue to do it. Just do something everyday. You will feel better, get out of the house, and maybe even find a support group among your peers.
The bottom line is, to live well with Parkinson’s, you need to do some homework. Get out and exercise, meet other people with Parkinson’s who you are comfortable talking to, read about Parkinson’s (but not too much). There are a lot of resources available to you. Most importantly, know that you are not in this alone. There is a large community of people with PD whom you can connect with in support groups, exercise classes or on-line. With their help, you too, can become a PD Superstar!