A GLASGOW man who has lived with Parkinson’s has warned that many of those with the disease avoid social situations because of poor public understanding.

David Wilson, a 55-year-old from Dennistoun, says some people with the neuroprogressive illness are put off going out and about, fearing negative reactions.

The former NHS worker said he has even been accused of having “had too much to drink” due to the lack of knowledge of his condition.

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He said: “Most people are understanding and supportive when my symptoms become obvious. Unfortunately, there are some people who react negatively and this can be annoying as well as making things more difficult for me.

"I use a stick, not just to help me balance, but as a signal to others that I have a disability. It can be difficult and frustrating when people expect me to give way on stairs and escalators when I need to be able to use the handrail.

“My symptoms mean that my movements can be involuntary and uncoordinated and it can be embarrassing when people stop and stare. Recently a passing cyclist shouted at me and accused me of having had too much to drink.

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“I travel a lot by bus and life is much easier when the driver is disability aware and considerate. Sadly, that’s not always the case. You can get thrown around when the bus moves off before you’ve had the chance to sit down. The same is true when trying to get off.

"One driver recently would not stop when I remained seated but ringing the bell taking me three stops past my destination.

“I know that these issues really put some people off going out and about. But I refuse to give in to the challenge of other people’s inconsiderate behaviour. I think that these negative responses reflect a lack of understanding about Parkinson’s which is why these information and awareness initiatives are so important. Thankfully most folks are considerate.”

David’s warning comes as more than 80 landmarks across Scotland are being lit up in blue to mark World Parkinson’s Day and raise awareness of the disease.

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Of those with the condition, which affects 12,400 people in Scotland, 83 per cent have had negative experiences, including being laughed at, because of their symptoms, while more than half have avoided or cancelled social plans.

Annie Macleod, director of Parkinson’s UK Scotland, said: “People with Parkinson’s and their families often feel isolated, so it means a lot to the community to know that people care and are aware of the condition.”