A common metaphor for Parkinson’s disease (PD) is an iceberg. Sticking out of the water are the visible motor symptoms that most people are familiar with: tremors, muscle rigidity, slowness, and postural changes. But those are only the tip of the iceberg.
Beneath the water is a much larger cluster of “invisible” symptoms, many non-physical, that occur with PD. These include anxiety or depression, sleep disturbances, bowel and bladder changes, changes in temperature regulation, skin changes, difficulty paying attention, confusion, loss of taste or smell, and dementia.
There are many questions that arise after a diagnosis of Parkinson’s, including:
- How quickly will my disease progress?
- What symptoms will I have, and how severe will they be?
- Will I respond well to conventional or integrative treatments?
- What kinds of changes will I need to make to my lifestyle?
These questions are normal, and there is no one answer that will fit everyone’s situation. How quickly the disease progresses through its five stages, and which symptoms will present, varies from person to person.