It’s bad enough that any of us could be diagnosed with Parkinson’s – a degenerative neurological condition, for which there is no cure.
But research indicates that about half of those with Parkinson’s in the north east hide their symptoms or lie about having the condition.
This affects about 127,000 people nationwide, and maybe 5,600 in the north east, with someone being diagnosed with the condition every hour.
This shows an alarming level of fear around sharing diagnosis and cuts people off from vital support when many are struggling to come to terms with their condition. They say they don’t want others to feel awkward or embarrassed, and fear being judged or that the symptoms are socially unacceptable.
The Parkinson’s charity reckons that 42,000 people have delayed sharing their diagnosis and fear being stigmatised for something that is not their fault. Those who confide in friends and family say it is like coming out.
Michael Charters, 56, lives in Wallsend with his wife Margaret. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in November 2008.
He said: “I was worried to go to work and for a long time I didn’t want to share it with anyone, mostly because I was embarrassed. If my hand shook I would put it in my pocket to try to cover it up.”
Please bear this in mind.
For advice, information and support, visit www.parkinsons.org.uk or call the free, confidential helpline on 0808 800 0303.