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Sconklin87

Young Onset Parkinson's or Stress Related Condition?

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Hi everyone:

Let me preface this by saying I am a 30 year old man who is in overall good athletic shape (exercise 3-4 times per week before experiencing my symptoms, which started a few weeks after getting laid off from my job). I have had a couple visits with a neurologist and primary care physician since and although I have been diagnosed by a neurologist with Benign Fasciculation Syndrome (BFS), I believe I could be suffering from Early Onset Parkinsons Disease.

Here's a recap of some of the key events as my symptoms have gradually gotten worse:

August 9, 2017: While laying in bed in the morning shortly after waking up, I notice my left ring finger had a rhythmic left to right twitch that lasted for no more than 5 seconds and stopped upon moving my finger. Several times throughout the day it intermittently repeats the same involunatary motion.

Two days later, I experience a similar sensation in the meaty part of my thumb on the same hand where I can actually see and feel the muscle contracting.

About a week after that, I notice twitches throughout my body, typically stronger sensations as the day progresses. Twitches in body parts range from left tricep to legs on both sides (calf, quads, hamstring and even toes). I've even experienced some dystonia in my feet (stronger on my right foot where I can feel a great deal of pain in my foot and can visually see the muscle twisting).

Around August 18, 2017 I start experiencing myoclonic jerks upon falling asleep. This, however, is nothing new for me as I've had isolated incidents of this in the past dating back to about 10 years ago, but now I have them every night and can't fall asleep unless I take an OTC sleeping pill.

A week later, after being referred to a neurologist, I received a 30-minute evaluation that included a reflex test. Upon passing the reflex test, the doctor diagnosed me with BFS, but requested that I take a blood test (not sure what he was looking for, but I provided four samples).

Two weeks later during a follow-up conversation with the neurologist he tells me that my blood results were normal, but I'm still not convinced they are. I tell him my concern is Parkinson's and he says that it is unlikely based on my symptoms and that he would give me the same diagnosis even if I was 70 years old.

Aside from the twitching and cramps, I don't have muscle weakness or extraordinary pain. Sometimes after exercising my shoulders will have some General soreness or stiffness, but that is only if I'm exercising those muscles. I do have some pain below my knee in the peripheral nerve that radiates to my ankle/foot, but that pops up in the late afternoon/evening. Sometimes I will feel dizzy or woozy and I've experienced a couple debilitating headaches, but this is nothing new.

My family does not have a history of Parkinson's aside from a Great Aunt, but I do have a history of concussions dating back to when I was 8 years old playing football. My last significant head injury was in college about eight years ago and I'd say I've had at least a dozen of them in my life, which has resulted in frequent migraine headaches and difficulty concentrating at times. I also suffer from a sleep disorder where I will sleep walk and sleep talk (usually after a night of drinking). This started in my childhood.

Based on this background info (I tried to be as detailed as possible, but I'm sure that I'm omitting others), does this sound like Parkinson's to you? Do you recommend getting a second opinion from another neurologist? Movement disorder specialist? As each does goes by, it seems like my stress level keeps increasing with the symptoms only getting worse. I'm only getting less sleep and much of the day is spent worrying.

FYI: Here's what my finger twitch looks like:

 

Thanks, in advance for your concern and responses!

 

 

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Hello Sconklin87,

Welcome to the forum!

Your symptoms don't sound like PD to me.  PD normally starts on one side and progresses slowly.  Moreover, PD isn't roving twitches.

I've never heard of BFS, but I looked it up and BFS does sound like the symptoms that you described.  Why do you think it is PD rather than the BFS you were diagnosed with?  I also wonder if the doctors have considered chronic traumatic encephalopathy considering the number of concussions you've had?

 

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Thanks for your response, PatriotM. Actually the neurologist and I discussed CTE and said that can only be diagnosed post-mortum, but he said those symptoms would be different. Some of which are consistent with the other mental symptoms I have.

As for my Parkinson's concern, I understand each person's symptoms and the disease progression is unique. Upon doing research on the subject, I came across Michael J. Fox's story and his symptoms started with a finger twitch that gradually progressed over the years.

Additionally, Parkinson's is the condition that comes up a majority of the time whenever I enter my symptoms in. I do also have some General soreness in my wrist and fingers on the hand with the twitching and a tremor that is barely noticeable but I feel it's there.

I could be wrong because I'm not a doctor, but it's particularly concerning for me as the symptoms typically worsen as the day goes on and it gets bad at night. Just about every night I get the feeling that I'm falling and sensations that make me involuntarily jolt my legs or arms.

It's effecting my sleep patterns and the only way I can fall asleep is with sleeping pills.

Have you been diagnosed with PD? If so, what were your early symptoms?

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Hi Sconklin87, I can understand your anxiety and frustration trying self diagnosing,using the internet.I would say some of your symptoms resemble that of a pwp.But continue exercising vigorously,do all the tests requested by your neurologists or preferably see a movement disorder specialist.I have been through some of what you are experiencing now,before I was diagnosed.I was considered a YOPD person when diagnosed,becaused my MD felt that I have been having some symptoms like anxiety,occasional balance issues for sometime.For now,try and relax,and be ready to deal with whatever diagnosis your MD come up with.I support,going for a second opinion from a movement disorder specialist.I had to go through a pry care MD, and three neurologists before sticking with the final MD who is a MDS.

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Thanks for your response, otolorin. When you say PWP does that mean Person with Parkinson's?

How old were you upon receiving your diagnosis and what were your symptoms? How many visits did it take for you to receive your diagnosis?

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Yes,PWP means Person with Parkinson.In my late forties.Three different neurologists. Symptoms mainly non motor,like anxiety,apathy,occasional mild balance issues.

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Well I can tell you I've got a hell of a lot of anxiety and some mild balance issues now that I think of it.

The more I think of it, the more symptoms I think I have. I thought it was just from playing all these sports over the years.

Come to think of it, I've had issues with my vertebrae for the last two years and at one point had herniated discs in my neck and lumbar region. Perhaps that could be contributing to the symptoms?

The frustrating part is not being able to pinpoint what's causing this and stopping the symptoms. The main thing that is bothering me is the anxiety and sleep issues at the moment.

 

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Hi Sconklin87, try some deep breathing exercise,after a warm shower before going to bed.Avoid,caffienated drinks close to bedtime.I take melatonin 5mg,magnesium 1/2 250mg and .25alprazolam to sleep and I get up to 6 or 7hrs of sleep.Some people take trazadone antidepressant or the herb ashwaganda,or valerian root to sleep.I would advise you seek your MD's opinion as regards sleeping pills for pwp.I believe your are still working,so occupy your mind with something else apart from worrying to much about your symptoms.I know it is not easy coping with all these symptoms,without a diagnosis.I hope they find a cure to PD and all other incurable disease.Be at ease with yourself.Take care.

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Skonklin87,

This does not sound like Parkinson's to me.  The more you research Parkinson's, the more your mind will manifest symptoms.  Parkinson's is diagnosed by having two of the main motor symptoms associated with the disease:

  • Tremor
  • Slowness of movement, called bradykinesia
  • Stiffness or rigidity of the arms, legs, or trunk
  • Trouble with balance and possible falls, also called postural instability

Twitches are not tremors. Being laid off from your job is an extremely stressful event in your life. Stress can create all sorts of problems that can manifest in a lot of different ways. My advice would be to continue exercising and live your life.

Dave

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I'm still wondering why you think the diagnosis of Benign Fasciculation Syndrome is wrong.  I read the symptoms associated with BFS and they look like your symptoms.  Why not BFS?

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Thanks, guys for responding. I guess right now I only have one of the symptoms listed in that series of bullet points and that is tremor/muscle twitching. I don't have stiffness or rigidity or slowness of movement. I've had some minor balance issues, but I've had that for at least the last 10-15 years.

My biggest concern is that the muscle twitching and tremors are getting worse, particularly on my left side of the body.

The tremors are barely noticeable with the naked eye, but I can feel them from my shoulder to my wrist and from my hip bone to my ankle. This happens every night around 7 pm until I fall asleep.

I've noticed some stiffness in both of my shoulders, the left more noticeably. However, I still play baseball and lift weights a couple times a week so I attributed it to that. It could be a possibility that's it's not from that though.

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Thanks, waruna01. I can certainly relate to your frustration of not getting a diagnosis or symptoms improving.

Is constipation an early symptom of Parkinson's? I've woke up in the middle of the night a few times over the last month with bad constipation in addition to the other symptoms I've been having over the last month and a half, which haven't gotten better.

I played softball on Sunday and I even felt the symptoms during rest periods. Running around the bases I felt as if I had an out of body experience where I had a sensation where I was leaning left and felt like I was going to fall (I sprinted around the bases). After the game I had more noticeable tremors/trembling in both arms (left more pronounced) that lasted for several hours as I watched the football games. Same thing happens when I consume too much soda with caffeine I.e. Coca Cola or Pepsi.

Do Parkinson's symptoms get worse after at rest after exercise? 

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For me exercise can trigger tremor in the Lt arm,then decreases and eventually stops with increased exercise intensity.Balance problems is  more pronounced after exercise,mainly aerobics,but balance improves with increased exercise intensity and frequency.With weight lifting exercises,Lt arm shakes,after increased repetition due to fatigue.Sometimes,after bicycle exercise,I get tremor in my Lt arm for couple of minutesthen it stops.So some symtoms may get worse after exercise temporarily,then get better for some people.In general, exercise has been proven to be good for slowing PD progression.Too much caffeine may increase anxiety,tremor in some PWP.

Edited by otolorin

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