Is it Parkinson’s or Is it Aging?
So you’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Now what? First and most importantly, find a neurologist that specializes in Movement Disorders. As a person ages, their body begins to experience changes. But the trick is, how do you delineate between if you are getting older, or if your symptoms are related to your Parkinson’s diagnosis. Let us help you.
Back Pain: As we get older, it’s very common to get arthritis in your back. However, Parkinson’s also causes rigidity and loss of motion resulting in back pain. Most times back pain is just a result of aging, but always consult your doctor if your pain or discomfort increases and is unmanageable.
Shoulder and Hip Pain: Our shoulders and hips take the brunt of Parkinson’s. Typically, people will see an orthopedic doctor and are diagnosed with a shoulder issue when realistically it is stemming from their Parkinson’s diagnosis. Again, be sure to consult a movement disorder specialist to get the answers you may need.
Vision Problems: Loss of eyesight and vernacular degeneration is an extremely common sign of aging but also experienced in patients who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. However, the main difference is that in aging, people tend to develop cataracts and in Parkinson’s people tend to lose depth perception.
Loss of Smell: While both are common in both aging and Parkinson’s Disease, loss of smell is a non-motor symptom of Parkinson’s that can develop years before being diagnosed.
Tremors: Experiencing tremors is one of the most common symptoms of Parkinson’s but is not to be confused with an essential tremor which is extremely common among people as they age.
This post is specifically for people who have already been diagnosed with Parkinson’s but are getting older and experiencing additional symptoms. Not everything always leads back to the Parkinson’s and can just be part of the aging process. If you are experiencing some of these symptoms but are having a difficult time differentiating between aging and Parkinson’s, consult your doctor as soon as possible.
– Ed Gray, Director of Therapy