Fighting Parkinson’s Disease Fatigue

Faye Prior | 2014-10-04 06:06:05

Fatigue in Parkinson’s disease can be an underestimated and distressing problem, and around a third of people will experience some form of debilitating fatigue which is enough worsen depression and quality of life.

Fatigue isn’t as simple to diagnose as you might imagine because it can have multiple possible causes. Sometimes people might experience fluctuations in energy throughout the day because of the timing of their medication, or they might experience a mental rather than physical fatigue which makes concentrating and working difficult. If people are experiencing tremors or slowness of movement, then the body is working much harder than it used to, the muscles can be become tired and it’s taking longer to accomplish simple tasks like making a drink. Of course if you haven’t had a good nights sleep then it’s unlikely that you’re going to wake feeling rested.

Getting help for fatigue is important, it’s not a normal part of Parkinson’s disease that you should ‘put up with’. It can prevent people from sleeping, working, and participating in activities that they enjoy like shopping an socialising, these are all activities that you should still be participating in. Treating fatigue depends upon the cause, as for different causes there will be different medications or solutions, so it’s important to tell your doctor about your fatigue until it’s sorted.

In the mean time, there are still some ways to keep fatigue at bay by yourself:

  • Try to achieve a balance of activity and rest each day, don’t do too much all in one day, save some tasks for tomorrow.
  • Try not to withdraw from activities that you enjoy because you’re tired, sometimes going out for dinner with a friend will leave you feeling better than you were before.
  • Don’t accept the role of house maid, make sure everybody pulls their weight with household tasks.
  • Try to do some physical activity like gardening or a short walk, even though you feel tired the more you move the more energy you’ll build up.
  • Make sure you’re eating a healthy and balanced diet, with regular meals and snacks to keep your energy levels topped up.
  • Try to have a regular bed time routine, and avoid drinking caffeinated drinks like tea in the hours before bed time.

Faye Prior (Researcher)


Stocchi et al., (2014). Prevalence of fatigue in Parkinson disease and its clinical correlates. Neurology, 83, 215-20.