Slepian Smith, PLLC

Study reveals syndrome combining Parkinson’s and fibromyalgia

An Israeli research study found that some people with Parkinson’s disease, also referred to as PD, also have fibromyalgia, or FM, creating a unique syndrome. Many of these patients are women who also have depression or anxiety. This group tends to use more pain medication and more antidepressants as well as smoke cigarettes at a higher rate than people with PD only.

Researchers have dubbed the PD-FM syndrome FLISPAD or “fibromyalgia-like syndrome associated with Parkinson’s disease.” Patients with FLISPAD generally are diagnosed with FM at a later age than are those with FM alone.

We have shared information about FM previously as many of our disability clients suffer from the debilitating disease, which causes ongoing, severe pain in several areas of the body and other symptoms. Parkinson’s is a “progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement [including] tremors … stiffness or slowing of movement,” explains the Mayo Clinic.

According to Parkinson’s News Today, PD and FM have overlapping symptoms that include:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Sleep problems
  • Rectal discomfort
  • Pelvic discomfort
  • Muscle stiffness

Those with this dual diagnosis were at greater risk of heart failure, depression, anxiety, hypertension and dementia. The researchers found that 88.3% of those in a 15-year period sampled who had the dual diagnosis were female, with about three-quarters of them having had the FM diagnosed after the PD. PD was more resistant to treatment in patients with a dual diagnosis than in patients with PD alone.

The article contains a link to the study itself as published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine.

SSDI and SSI claimants with FLISPAD

The takeaway for claimants seeking Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income is that if either of these disorders is present, a qualified physician should consider the possible existence of the other, depending on the symptoms. An attorney can be especially helpful in such a disability case, as building the medical record must be a particularly robust effort when many symptoms are subjective.

The law requires that the Social Security Administration assess the impact on ability to work of all impairments in combination, so investigating all symptoms and potential impairments is important to eligibility.

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