Parkinson’s disease is one of the top four brain conditions in Singapore, yet many are unsure what’s myth and what's fact. Prof Louis Tan, Senior Consultant, Department of Neurology, National Neuroscience Institute (NNI), helps separate fact from fiction.
Some 8,000 people are living with Parkinsons in Singapore, yet this condition with its misconceptions often causes confusion.
Prof Louis Tan, Senior Consultant from the
Department of Neurology at
National Neuroscience Institute (NNI), a member of the
SingHealth group, sifts through the myths and sets the record straight.
Myth 1: Only the elderly gets Parkinson's disease.
Fact: Parkinson's disease can affect adults at
Parkinsons is most common in people over 60 years old, but it can affect younger adults too:
Myth 2: If I have Parkinson's disease, my children/grandchildren will definitely get it.
Fact: Parkinson's disease is
not usually passed on through the genes.
A genetic link is more common when a family member has been diagnosed with Parkinsons when he or she was under 50 years old.
Myth 3: All people with Parkinson's disease have a tremor.
Fact: Parkinson's disease affects people in
About 70% of patients have a tremor. Other symptoms include:
Stiff arms and legs
Problems walking and balancing
Changes in speech and writing
Myth 4: There is no treatment for Parkinson's disease. It is a terminal illness and fatal.
Fact: There are effective treatments and people with Parkinsons can live for
more than 20 years after a diagnosis.
It’s true that there is currently no cure for Parkinsons and it does get worse over time, but many live between 10 and 20 years after they are diagnosed. Medication, regular exercise, therapy and in some cases, Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery, can help control symptoms.
Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) - How It Treats Parkinsons
Myth 5: People with Parkinson's disease do not suffer from dementia.
Fact: People in more advanced stages of Parkinsons
can get dementia.
Forgetfulness and thinking problems such as difficulties with planning and multi-tasking can occur in Parkinsons. These can get worse over time and lead to dementia in more advanced stages.
Dementia in Singapore
To learn more about Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders, visit the NNI website:
If you or someone you care for has Parkinsons and would like practical advice and support, please contact the Parkinson Society Singapore:
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