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Stories of Parkinson’s # 11 Shobhana Tai








Old age and Parkinson’s have always been linked as have tremors and Parkinson’s.  Initially, I too believed that all tremors meant Parkinson’s. Later when I came in contact with the Parkinson’s MitraMandal and began going for home visits, I met over twenty to twenty five people who did not have tremors but suffered from Parkinson’s. I understood that Parkinson’s and tremors are not interlinked.

One of our senior member, Shri Sharat Chandra Patwardhan, manages the list of all members. New members join, some members die, some change their residence or contact details. It is an ongoing process.  There are a few corrections in which a member joins the Mandal, attends meetings, takes medicines and later declares that they don’t suffer from Parkinson’s so their name should be removed from the list.  There is a common thread in such members, they all suffer from tremors. A few members keep attending meetings even after realizing that they don’t have Parkinson’s as they feel connected to the members. We,too, have no objections to this. Suffering from Parkinson’s is not a criteria to be a part of the Parkinson’s Mitra Mandal.  

 

In reference to this, I would like to give the example of Prof. Mahadeokar, who  teaches at the Pune Engineering College.  When he first felt tremors in his hand, he began to believe that he was suffering from Parkinson’s, without consulting any doctor or neurologist. He joined the Parkinson’s Mitra Mandal. Later, his family physician and neurologist informed him that he was not suffering from Parkinson’s but Writer’s Cramp. Writer’s Cramp happens while writing and is limited only to hands. It does not affect any other part of the body.

 

Similarly,’ Essential Tremors ‘which affects the nervous system, causing involuntary and rhythmic trembling, but is not related to Parkinson’s.  In short, all tremors of the limbs are not Parkinson’s.  Only a specialist or a neurosurgeon can diagnose Parkinson’s. Prof. Mahadeokar, believed himself suffering from Parkinson’s despite the neurosurgeon’s assurance.  After listening to various lectures, reading many books about Parkinson’s, he was convinced that he did not have Parkinson’s.  Later, when a friend was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, Prof. Mahadeokar introduced him to the Mitra Mandal.

 

One of our long time members, Shri Rajkumar Jadhav, informed us that he has been suffering from Parkinson’s from the age of nineteen, like his mom.  Seeing his mother’s suffering from the same, he decided never to get marry.  He was employed as an office boy. He never got himself  diagnosed by a neurosurgeon and just believed that he was suffering from Parkinson’s. He is now in his sixties, the symptoms have remained the same. In my opinion he does not have Parkinson’s, but Essential Tremors.

 

Actually there is no specific test to diagonise Parkinson’s. We can test Blood Pressure, we can test sugar levels, but not Parskinson’s.  One can only consider the symptoms. It can diagnosed only by a specialist or a neurologist. Many a times, one self-diagnosis oneself based on the tremors or maybe a regular family physician diagnoses the tremors as Parkinson’s. it can be dangerous.  It is okay if one self-diagnoses oneself but once you begin to take medicines for Parkinson’s, it can be harmful.  In my opinion the linking of tremors and Parkinson’s is wrong. It is important to consult a neurologist once one feels the tremors.

 

There is a ray of hope now. Recently, a few female students of Cummins Engineering College visited our Mitra Mandal. They have designed an app for their project. With the help of the app, one can identify whether the tremor is due to Parkinson’s or not. A small strip like tool is used for this.  Correct conclusion can be reached after applying that bandage. The students examined the members of Parikinson’s Mitra Mandal.  The project is now nearing completion and the students will apply for patent of this app. It will become easier to diagnose patients of Parkinson’s with this app.

 

It often happens that people immediately suspect Parkinson’s disease and go to the doctor when they experience hand tremors.  On the contrary, there are examples of cases where there were no tremors and the doctors did not diagnose Parkinson’s it remains undiagnosed for  four or five years after the onset of Parkinson’s, before it is noticed. Hence I request you not to link tremors and Parkinson’s. This is wrong assumption.  In my future blogs, we will look at some of the problems that non-tremor Parkinson’s face when diagnosed with it.

 

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