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Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: RLS or Parkinson's Disease?


 nottaclevername - Sun May 31, 2009 8:39 pm

For financial and personal reasons, my dad has resisted returning to his physician despite his deteriorating condition.
He is 54 years old, 5'7" and 175lbs. He drinks and smokes, had surgery for diverticulitis in 1998, is controlling his diabetes with his diet, is currently taking 50mg of Atenolol for high blood pressure, and .5mg of Clonazepam for RLS.
He was recently diagnosed with restless leg syndrome, but his condition is worsening despite the medication. He started talking persistently in his sleep about a year ago and lately it has gotten very bad. His arms and legs shake uncontrollably and it is worsened when he lays down or is under great stress. Because of this he averages two to four hours of sleep a night and is exhausted and unable to function during the day. He has begun stuttering and has a difficult time forming complete thoughts. He has a VERY high anxiety level especially in response to auditory stimulus, has lost some coordination [most obvious when driving] and has a decreased sense of balance.
I'd appreciate any advice.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Tue Jun 09, 2009 9:16 pm

User avatar Hi there --

One can only hope that perhaps showing your dad this response may help prod him to do the right thing and get back to his doctor ASAP. It's pretty clear by now he isn't just suffering from RLS. Based on the symptoms described, this could be Parkinson's disease, but there are a number of other neurological disorders that also could fit the profile you've described, including (but limited to) MS and several other central nervous system diseases. He might even have suffered strokes or may have developed some sort of atypical seizure problem. This all could even be related solely to diabetes, even though it is tightly controlled. It is very difficult to guess with any accuracy at a distance, which is one more reason why he really needs to be evaluated by a competent neurologist, and the sooner the better. Right now there is a widespread tendency for people to resist seeking medical care due to financial considerations, and this is all wrong. Any self-respecting physician will work with the patient who has limited financial resources, so long as the patient exhibits a desire to stay healthy and manage chronic or progressive health problems. First we need to figure out what's actually going on with your dad. It may be less complicated than it appears on the surface.

My best advice would be to try and persuade him this is extremely important for his good health and longevity, that he be evaluated, diagnosed and treated, and that financial considerations really fall way down on the list compared with being healthy and available for his family. He's awfully young to be going through this, and it may well be something not that difficult to manage. Again, we don't even know what it is we're dealing with yet. His family needs him and he needs his good health and deserves the best possible quality of life. I hope you'll pass this along to him in the way you feel will best serve getting him in to find out just what's going on and create and implement a treatment plan.

I hope this is helpful. Good luck to you. Please follow up with us here as needed.

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