A new study has found that more than a third of people with Parkinson's disease have felt the need to lie about their condition or hide their symptoms altogether.
The analysis, conducted by ComRes for Parkinson's UK, surveyed more than 1,800 people with the disease to determine how they reacted to their diagnosis.
Released to mark Parkinson's Awareness Week (April 18th - 24th), the findings suggest that many people feel their symptoms are not socially acceptable and may embarrass those close to them.
The charity also added that this means that many people are having to struggle with a new diagnosis on their own, without the support of their family, friends and healthcare professionals.
Steve Ford, chief executive at Parkinson's UK, said hiding it meant many people were not getting the help they needed to cope with a degenerative neurological condition, which can have a devastating impact on people's emotional health.
"We are determined that each and every person with Parkinson's is aware of the support available so they can feel equipped to have these difficult conversations," he added.
It is estimated that around 127,000 people in the UK have Parkinson's disease and, according to the findings of the study, some 42,000 put off sharing their diagnosis with a loved one.
According to the research, many people saw their emotional health affected by receiving the diagnosis. It found that many experienced negative emotions in the year after their diagnosis, with it being hardest on younger people who found out they had Parkinson's disease.
Others reported feeling 'like their world had ended', 'like they were grieving' or 'like they didn't know who to turn to', the study found.
Mr Ford said having the right support, whether through family, friends or Parkinson's UK, was vital for those with the condition as it helps them come to terms with their diagnosis and know that they're not alone.
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