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namaste

26m with a few questions

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As the title says, I am a 26 year-old male with a few questions about YOPD. I want to be up-front about the fact that I am not diagnosed with Parkinson's; rather, I believe I might have BFS (benign fasciculation syndrome) and a cluster of symptoms that resemble autonomic dysregulation (some might say dysautonomia, adrenal fatigue, Lyme disease, etc). I do not want to ruffle any feathers here - I already feel pretty awful about posting in this fashion so please do feel free to remove this immediately if it is not appropriate.

My grandfather was diagnosed with Parkinson's in his 60's. There is evidence that his father had the same diagnosis when he passed but the information is slightly hazy. No one else in my family sphere has been diagnosed as far as I know.

I was stressed from the day I was born. I suffered an abusive childhood and went on medication at an early age. I have always had strong physical symptoms that I suspect are a result of this: fatigue, anxiety, sleep issues, twitching, IBS, heartburn, back pain, nausea, etc. When I was in middle school I had a major life stressor (moved to a new state) and right around that time I developed chronic constipation which has lasted to this day (although it will occasionally swing in the opposite direction when I am particularly stressed).

Considering the stress damage I've accumulated over my life, along with my family history and history of chronic constipation going back ~15 years, is it possible that I am at a higher risk for Parkinson's, especially the young-onset variety? What concerns me is that my grandfather had an extremely stressful life too: he was an orphan for a period of time and then become an alcoholic for at least 20 years. His father was similar. A few of his siblings (great-uncles) who had a less stressful lives are still living in their 80's with no signs of neurodegeneration.

The BFS symptoms (along with the chronic constipation and motility issues) are what brought me here. I am still not 100% convinced of that diagnosis; I've been ruminating about whether I'm in the early stages of developing a movement disorder (jerkiness, stiffness, and a few other symptoms seem to overlap). I did recently start therapy for complex trauma and I want to say that I am mostly confident that my attention should only be focused there. I am not looking for a diagnosis but truly am interested in the science behind all of this though and whether there are any answers. Again, I apologize if this post is intrusive and I would understand if it is removed.

Edited by namaste

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Hello Namaste,

No need to apologize for posting - this is a supportive group and most will take your concerns seriously and do their best to help.  Since you have a troubled and stressed past, your symptoms could well be related to other issues.  It might be helpful to focus on the four cardinal symptoms of PD:  tremor, rigidity, slowness and postural instability.  If you begin noticing these symptoms then a trip to a movement disorder specialist might be a good idea.   Until then put the thought of Parkinson's disease out of your mind and try to live your life fully.  Gardener

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Thanks so much for the response Gardener. I think I can see through my anxiety enough to know that my current symptoms do not warrant a trip to the doctor. That being said, the combination of family history, toxic stress, and chronic constipation (beginning around the age of 12 after a major life event, nonetheless) have me a bit concerned about the future. The more I think about it, though, the more I realize that there is probably no good answer to my question. 

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Hi Namaste,

Focusing on therapy to address your past complex trauma seems wise.

If you're interested in the current state of PD research, I'd recommend the book Brain Storms: The Race to Unlock the Mysteries of Parkinson's Disease, by Jon Palfreman. Palfreman's a science journalist who happens to have PD.

The blog Science of Parkinson's is also good, if a little more down in the weeds, science-wise.

In both cases, the emphasis is on current research and approaches to understanding PD and development of new treatments, rather than a laundry list of signs and symptoms. You may find the answers to some of your questions (or learn that we don't know the answers yet) without the additional stress of worrying you may have PD.

It can be easy to fall into that trap, given many PD symptoms (other than the four cardinal ones Gardener cites) are often vaguely described, and common across a number of conditions.

I wish you the best, and I'll echo Gardener--please don't apologize for posting.

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