When we think of Parkinson's disease, we often think of problems purely to do with movement, such as walking. However, it is now well recognised that Parkinson's disease can affect a person in many ways.
These span from gastrointestinal problems like constipation, sleep disturbance, loss of smell and dizziness, right through to mood alteration and memory loss. Together, these are known as "non-motor" symptoms, and are important targets in the battle to treat Parkinson's disease with the help of your doctor, as well as being the topic of much research.
Cognitive effects can go beyond memory to involve other thought processes such as attention, thinking speed and visual perception, whilst in some cases hallucinations can be problematic. Though a cure for Parkinson's disease has not yet been reached, help is available, and management can involve medication changes, psychology, physiotherapy and occupational therapy to name a few. Simply being aware and letting your support team know of non-motor symptoms is often beneficial. It may be useful to keep a diary of your symptoms so your physician can tailor management to suit your needs. Let's all keep thinking through Parkinson's disease towards a brighter future.