Talking to your doctor about any health concern can be tough, particularly when symptoms catch you by surprise or cause concern. And when it comes to Parkinson’s disease (PD), experts say there are many symptoms that often go unreported at doctor’s appointments, making them difficult to diagnose and treat.
For example, many people are aware of visible symptoms associated with PD, like resting tremors and loss of balance. However, more than half of people living with Parkinson’s also experience a lesser known aspect of the disease — hallucinations and delusions.
“Over time, these symptoms may increase in frequency or become bothersome, as a person with Parkinson’s becomes less able to distinguish between what is real and what’s not. Fortunately, these symptoms often can be addressed.” says Neal Hermanowicz, MD, director of the Parkinson’s Disease & Movement Disorders Program at the University of California, Irvine.
To help you prepare for your appointment with a PD specialist, Dr. Hermanowicz says to consider the following statements, and if they apply to you, to tell your doctor at your next appointment.
• I sometimes feel out of touch with reality.
• Others tell me that what I am hearing, seeing or sensing (e.g., people, animals or objects) are not actually there (hallucinations).
• I have beliefs or fears that a loved one (perhaps a spouse, caregiver or friend) is stealing from me or being unfaithful (delusions).
Dr. Hermanowicz also suggests that caregivers prepare for the next appointment by considering the following statements and speaking to their loved one’s PD specialist if any of them apply.
• I have observed my loved one interacting with things, seeing things or sensing things that are not there (hallucinations).
• My loved one has had false beliefs toward me or others, such as believing someone is stealing from them or being unfaithful (delusions).
• These experiences have affected our daily life.
Learn more about hallucinations and delusions associated with Parkinson’s and download resources that will help initiate these critical conversations at MoretoParkinsons.com.
If you or someone you care for is experiencing these symptoms, you are not alone and you may be able to get help. Talk to a PD specialist to learn more about available treatment options. Be prepared for your next appointment by ensuring the conversation first starts at home.