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People with Parkinson’s often say they feel tired—even exhausted. Although few research studies have focused on fatigue, scientists estimate that it affects about 50 percent of people with Parkinson’s.
This lack of energy typically develops early in the course of the disease. It is a particularly frustrating symptom. A feeling of deep tiredness can come on unpredictably, causing people who were once active and energetic to decrease their hours at work or retire, or avoid social activities. This can happen whether movement symptoms are mild or severe. Stress can make fatigue worse.
No specific mechanism has been shown to cause fatigue in PD, although it is assumed to be a result of the changes taking place in the brain. However, people with Parkinson’s often have other nonmotor symptoms of the disease that also can make them feel tired, such as sleep disturbances, depression, or pain.
No therapy has been proven effective against fatigue on its own. But when it is intertwined with these other symptoms, treatment that makes it possible to sleep soundly through the night, for example, or that alleviates depression, may help people feel more energetic. Finally, some therapies for motor symptoms may contribute to fatigue. Adjusting doses of these medications may help solve the problem.
National Sleep Foundation: Parkinson's Disease
Category: Non-Motor Symptoms and Complications of Parkinson’s
Resource Type: Websites
Toll Free: (202) 347-3471
Associated URL: www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-topics/parkinsons-disease-and-sleep
This organization offers information on the factors that can affect the quality of sleep. To find information on PD-related sleep problems, treatments and coping strategies, visit the 'Sleep Topics' section of this mostly online resource. Also offered in Spanish, German, and French.