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Hi everyone, I’m sort of freaking out.

about 3 days ago I started getting this weird weakness and twitching in my right index finger and thumb. It was happening like once a minute all the time. It’s not quite pill-rolling...I don’t even know if it’s a tremor or not. It’s not shaky just...twitchy. Sometimes I can feel it but not see it. It’s subtle. I have extreme health anxiety and so I started to focus on it and freak out and immediately think PD. I spoke to a primary care doctor who basically laughed at me, but I really am worried something is going on. It’s just like constant. More so when I’m relaxed but it has happened also when I’m typing or holding my phone or other stuff. I have no other symptoms. I guess there is some weakness in my arms but I don’t know how much of that is my anxiety tryinf to convince me I have something. The doctor thought maybe it was anxiety or stress related since I’ve been really really stressed lately (hair falling out, insomnia, panic attacks) and she thought maybe t was from having a long written exam last Wednesday...idk if I buy it. Should I just listen to her and drop it? Or does this sound concerning to anyone? I read online that this is like the first symptom of PD. I’m sorry; I’m like REALLY panicking. 

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Post in the ask the doctor forum on this site. They may be able to give you some feedback.

 

LAD

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Hi Newtie, do as directed by LAD,and ask your MD to refer you to a neurologist for thorough hysical evaluation.PD could start with some of the symptoms you mentioned.My ymptoms started with panic attacks,and anxiety,and my MD attributed these symptoms to stress.Good luck.

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I've never heard of twitching being a symptom of PD.  Also, weakness in both arms doesn't sound like PD.  I would listen to your doctor.  You already know that you have extreme health anxiety.  Why would this be something different?

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Don't take this the wrong way.  I really am just hoping to help you out.

 

I saw a presentation given by an MDS in the Seattle area (not my doc, but one I considered until finding out she was out of network for my insurance) where she said that anytime she sees a young woman presenting with PD-like tremors she screens for psychogenic causes.  Not that she thinks all young women with PD-like symptoms have psychiatric issues causing their symptoms as there clearly are young women with PD.  But the cold hard truth is that A) PD is 2:1 in affecting men vs women, B.) young onset is already only 5% or so of PD cases, and C) 80+% of psychogenic tremors occur in young women.  What she is trying to do by screening those women for psychogenic causes is to try to limit the risk that they are mis-diagnosed, and for that demographic the most common mis-diagnosis is to assume PD when it's really a psychogenic cause.  PD meds are nothing to trifle with, so if you don't need them you are massively better off not taking them.

 

So right there the odds that what you have is something other than PD is quite high.  Add in that you admit to having health anxiety and I'd put $5 on your issues being anxiety or other mental health issues rather than PD.

 

When I was going through the diagnosis process I hoped like heck it would turn out to be stress related, or some previously un-diagnosed psychiatric issue (and I had zero history of anything like that).  Because the alternative to that was PD, or something even worse than PD (all the things less bad than PD had been ruled out by testing).


If I'm right about your issues that would be really good news for you.  Why?  The good news if that is true is that your issues are curable.  PD is a progressive, degenerative neurological disorder.  There is no cure, no treatment that does anything more than mask symptoms, no hope beyond the vague predictions of researchers begging for more grant money that something more beneficial can be found.

 

Now, all that being said, I'd consider a new primary care doctor if your description of their reaction to you is accurate.  If they openly laugh at you that shows a lack of professionalism and a lack of compassion.  They might ultimately be right, but by not seriously considering what you are telling them they are not doing their proper due diligence in determining what you real problem might be.  

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Thanks for the replies everyone. 

My doctor would not refer me to a specialist because she did not believe it was PD. Should I just go to the ER? Getting an appointment around here takes months.

I've had health anxiety for the last 3 years or so and I'm in a very high stress graduate program, so it's been really hard to stay sane. My parents keep telling me to drop it and that all these symptoms are in my head and that my anxiety is making it worse than it is. But I just don't know. Ive been reading about how the hand tremor is often the first sign and it's freaking me out.

Is it common for people my age to get this disease? A lot of the time i hear young onset PD its in people in their mid 30's or 40's.

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Onset in early 20's is much less common than in the 30's and older.  But not unheard of either.

 

That said, you sound more like you need a vacation than an appointment with a neurologist.  

My best advice would be to find some better coping mechanisms for your stress and anxiety and to stay away from Dr Google.

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Not really.  Twitching and tremors are different things, and twitching is not a PD symptom at all.

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Is it common for people my age to get this disease? A lot of the time i hear young onset PD its in people in their mid 30's or 40's.

Depending on how you look at it, it isn't common for anyone to get PD. There's about a million people w/ PD in the US, out of a population of about 325 million--about 1/3 of 1% (1 in 325). PD is most prevalent among people 70 and older--even in that age group, only about 5% (1 in 20) have PD. As stump notes above, people younger than 50 when diagnosed (a frequent definition of young onset) are only about 5-10% of PD population.

Put it this way--my GP has been in practice for decades, and has seen thousands and thousands of patients in his career. As far as I know, I'm the only patient with YOPD he's ever had. 

It's fair to say PD in people younger than 30 is very rare. When symptoms are consistent w/ anxiety (or bad reaction to meds, such as some antidepressants), that's a much more likely diagnosis.

More to the point, in the extremely unlikely event you do have PD (and I agree with stump and Patriot--'twitching' really isn't a typical PD symptom) how would that affect your life right now?

PD progresses slowly, typically very slowly in YOPD. People recently diagnosed can go years and years without significant disability. I was dx'd three years ago, and expect to be hiking, climbing the occasional mountain, and working to full retirement.

Best advice would be: exercise more, eat better, start a retirement account, maybe purchase long-term care insurance (it's cheap when you're in your 20s). Try to relax and have some fun.

All things that are good ideas, PD or not.  

 

Edited by ShopGuy

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Thanks everyone for taking the time to respond, I really appreciate it. I had read about Benign Fasciculation Syndrone and it definitely sounded similar to what I was experiencing. My anxiety is just telling me its YOPD. I'm trying hard to fight it. The finger twitch is sort of all day and happens mostly when my hands are at rest, although it has been happening when I hold them up or am typing sometimes as well. It's just bothering me that it's happening when I'm resting. Everything I've read about suggests Parkinsons based on the "resting tremor." It's hardly a tremor though...it just sort of twitches for a second or two and them stops. It's barely noticeable and there's no pill-rolling. Does that sound more like BFS than PD?

I'm sorry to be repeating myself, I really appreciate the help and feedback everyone has given me. I've been too afraid to bug the people close to me.

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If it makes you feel better you can see a neurologist and get a more definitive answer than we can, but from what you described you most likely do NOT have PD.  Your symptoms, as described, are not consistent with PD.  Those twitches you described are not tremors.  I highly recommend you put PD out of your mind and go live your life.  Take a vacation, find a way to de-stress, or something.  Maybe reduce the course load for a semester or two.

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Newtie, I understand how you are feeling, I've been there.  As a matter of fact I got BFS during the time I was so worried about having PD.  Ironic isn't it?  BFS can increase dramatically during stress, I twitched from head to toe every few minutes.  Alarming and annoying.  

A "twitch" and a "tremor" are two completely different things.  PD = tremor.  BFS = twitching.

And PD tremor and symptoms are always on one side when they first start.

Never heard of a butt tremor or shoulder tremor in PD, it is usually a hand or limb at first.

Eye twitching is very common and not unique to PD.  It usually happens when stressing your eyes a lot, like reading the internet a lot, etc.  and eye fatigue.

btw - I stressed over PD for a very long time, it ruined many aspects of my life and put me into a severe clinical depression, try not to let this happen to you.  After all my stressing, which went on for about 5 years........it turned out my "mystery" symptoms were not PD, they gradually subsided, went to 3 different MDS's, no diagnosis.

Although, there have been reports of people as young as you getting PD, it is very rare.

If it would help you, go to an neurologist, and MDS preferably.

 

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It seems to me that instead of seeing a neurologist or MDS, you should be seeing a mental health professional.  By your own words, you have some sort of anxiety disorder that is causing you to think you have a serious disease.  THAT is the problem that needs to be addressed. 

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Do you still have your smell? Can you smell a banana, cofee etc? If yes, chances of you having PD at this age is virtually none. Good thing is you became aware of PD at a young age so you can take steps to prevent it later on by exercising regularly, eating brain healthy foods etc etc.

Edited by waruna01

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Yeah I still have my smell. I've noticed the symptoms are getting worse over the last few days. I feel like I'm twitching more in my finger (constantly) and I feel tense. I don't know if PD progresses that fast...so maybe it's just anxiety after all.

I went to a new doctor and he said he would not refer me to a Neurologist since the symptoms have not been going on long enough. After Christmas he said if it's not better or gone, I should start getting concerned and he would refer me to someone. I'm worried it won't go away and that it will end up being PD or something else serious. My anxiety is just getting the best of me. I really hope it goes away and that it's just some stress disorder and not PD. I guess I just have to be patient and brave.

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7 hours ago, Newtie said:

Yeah I still have my smell. I've noticed the symptoms are getting worse over the last few days. I feel like I'm twitching more in my finger (constantly) and I feel tense. I don't know if PD progresses that fast...so maybe it's just anxiety after all.

I went to a new doctor and he said he would not refer me to a Neurologist since the symptoms have not been going on long enough. After Christmas he said if it's not better or gone, I should start getting concerned and he would refer me to someone. I'm worried it won't go away and that it will end up being PD or something else serious. My anxiety is just getting the best of me. I really hope it goes away and that it's just some stress disorder and not PD. I guess I just have to be patient and brave.

PD normally starts on one side - you have symptoms on both sides.

Twitching is not a symptom of PD.

PD progresses slowly, even if you have a bad case.  It certainly doesn't get worse over a few days.

I can't think of a serious disease that has twitching as a major symptom.

After the doctor rules out everything serious, forget about your health and go live your life.  Worrying about some sickness that you don't have is not a recipe for a happy life.

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Most people only have PD symptoms on one side and it some times takes decades for Parkinson’s to develop on other side. Also note that more you keep reading about Parkinson’s, even reading this forum, more you will think you have it. You are way to young to get Parkinson’s. 23 is not an age you should worrying about Parkinson’s. Go live your life. I recommend you curtail your internet usage until your anxiety cools off. Try going off internet for a month or two and interact with real people instead. You will be surprised how much anxiety is tied to internet use

Edited by waruna01

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Realy if you have  pd all medical science has to offer is symptomatic relief

it will become clear if you a pd or not

that being said, medical science is very good at that syptommatic relief (although drugs can have side effects)

what I'm suggesting is consider yourself a person with stmptoms forget about the labels

 

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