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Topic Depression, Severe Fatigue & PD Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By worrieddaughter On 2011.01.18 22:58
Hi Everyone,

My dad was diagnosed 2 1/2 years ago with PD. He is almost 62 years old. He has mostly rigidity problems and bradykinesia (sp?) as his symptoms. He has mild tremor but that is by far the mildest symptom.

When he was first diagnosed, he started the drugs and immediately felt better. However, after a few months his symptoms returned. He has gone through cycles of constant readjustment of meds ever since, never feeling as good as he felt when he initially started the meds, but certainly periods of feeling better mixed with days here and there of feeling off, followed by extended periods where he needed to go back to the dr. to get an adjustment. Then the cycle would start over. I know constant adjustment of meds is part of PD so that's not my question.

Lately, he is so fatigued he cannot do anything. He falls asleep every time he sits down. When he was first diagnosed he was able to maintain an exercise routine including running and lifting weights but in the past 6 months or so, he has been unable to do any exercise. We were supposed to go to Florida tomorrow to visit my parents who are there for a few weeks renting a house and my dad called today to say he needed to cancel because he just doesn't feel up to doing anything.

This is TOTALLY unlike my dad. He is not someone who wants to complain, admit or disappoint anyone so I know he must be feeling really terrible to ask us not to come.

It seems that the meds are doing what they are supposed to for the physical symptoms he is experiencing but I'm wondering if he could have such severe depression related to the PD (which has not been addressed as of now) that it could be making him excessively tired.

Has anyone seen their loved one treated for depression along with the PD and seen a significant improvement? I'm beginning to think my dad just doesn't even want to live anymore because of his state. I know fatigue is a symptom of PD but can PD alone make you so tired that every single day you cannot/don't want to do anything? Please advise if this sounds like treating him for depression might at least be part of the answer.

Thank you!


By LOHENGR1N On 2011.01.19 00:06
Kelley, Depression is oft times common with Parkinson's Disease. You stated Your Dad's biggest symptoms were rigidity and Bradykinesia. These two can in themselves be very tiring. We've had in the past discussions here on the forum about movement and dehydration in warm weather. Let me try to explain this so it makes some semblance of sense to you. At times with Parkinson's Disease we can feel like we're walking around in mud. Not just any mud but deep mud say knee deep, now imagine trying to walk in knee deep mud all day long, or take those wrist and ankle strap on weights, put them on and go about daily tasks. It makes a big difference in what and how long you can do even simple things before tiring.

With the Bradykinesia and Rigidity think of those medical books that show the body you know the muscle groups under the skin? Our signals get mixed up so the muscles don't respond in a group like they used to. So looking at the group we have one strand respond but those next to it don't right away. We have as a result a slow chain reaction one strand moves then next has to and so on until the limb or hand moves. This takes effort as we seemingly have to will them to move, what we really do is concentrate on getting these muscles to move and this can be and is tiring also.

Depression can add to this tiredness or come from not knowing why He feels so tired now. Also feeling drained could be causing Him to cancel too. He may feel if He's feeling this way and dozing a lot He won't feel comfortable around others, feeling like they'll look at Him differently. These fears may be unfounded but this doesn't make them any less real to Him. You can check into the depression by all means but medicine might not be needed He just might need to express feelings or fears of the trip with someone (you) so He's reassured He's doesn't need to "keep up" with everything and will have down time to rest. Remember most of the time vacation translated to cram everything you could into the time allotted in Our pre-Parkinson's life. With Parkinson's We have to learn to adjust to not being able to do this even if it's a mental adjustment on our part. (meaning We with Parkinson's aren't expected to but at times We with Parkinson's must remind ourselves to not expect to.) (hope this last part made sense) Take care, best of luck and hang in there.

By Emma On 2011.01.19 03:31
Kelley, Hi and welcome to the forum. I'm not a patient so I can't give you a good answer/explanation like Lohengrin but I can tell you that for the first several years of my husband's PD he was much as you describe. It seemed as if he slept more than he was awake and he would also fall asleep at the drop of a hat. Many times he dozed off right in the middle of a sentence and one time he fell asleep at a formal dinner party; his head fell right into his plate. Our neurologist told us that extreme fatigue was common with PD but he had him tested for narcolepsy just to rule that out. The test was negative. Like many with PD he does have some depression but I really don't think that was causing the excessive sleepiness, I think he was just genuinely exhausted. During that time he, like your dad, would sometimes want to cancel family events. I think they were just too much for him. Now things have flipped and he rarely if ever sleeps during the day and also has trouble sleeping at night. Go figure.

In short, I can't tell you why your dad is sleeping so much but it is not uncommon.

Blessings to you and your family.

By karolinakitty On 2011.01.19 12:43
Kelley, Hi and welcome..... my guy does the same thing as Emmas did...nods off as soon as he sits down....during meals or is long as he keeps busy or focused he is good. You don't mention the drugs he is on but if it is Requip or Mirapex they both cause narcolepsy.
Also i like to give an analogy of PD fatigue... imagine riding a stationary bike and juggling balls 24/7, that is about the equivalent of how much energy your dad uses with his muscles moving all day long. It can be very as we all have isn't uncommon .....

By worrieddaughter On 2011.01.19 16:44
Thanks for your responses. It's all so frustrating. My mom has Multiple Sclerosis so I've about had my fill of degenerative diseases that have this unknown path. In the beginning I thought, well, at least it's not something like cancer. But at least with cancer (many types anyway) it can be treated and go away.

My dad has actually described the way he feels as walking in mud so that was a good description.

He's seeing a new doctor next week so I'm hoping that will breathe some new life and hope into the situation.

Thanks again for your replies.


By susger8 On 2011.01.20 11:44
Wow, Kelley, you have a very full plate. Welcome, and I sure hope we can be of help.

I want to echo what karolinakitty said -- Mirapex or Requip tend to cause fatigue and sleepiness. When my dad was on Requip, he would fall asleep after eating, so suddenly that he would drop his fork or his glass while he was at the table. He wasn't actually depressed as far as anyone could tell -- it was the meds. This improved when he was taken off Requip, though he still does sleep a lot.


By oshroshr On 2011.01.20 21:45
My husband also does the same thing, fall asleep suddenly, in the car or in his chair. But he went from sleeping in bed all of the time two to three years ago to now doing this but then not sleeping at night at all. He is on Mirapex but the sleep issue has been going on for years but it keeps changing too.
You never can tell what tomorrow may be as the scenes in this play repeat but then change totally. I am just learing to cope with this after 7 years but this last year has been full of total changes.

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