Men and women who suspect they might be exhibiting symptoms of Parkinson’s disease should speak with a medical professional immediately.
Despite affecting roughly 10 million people worldwide, Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder, remains a mystery to many people.
To people outside of the medical field with no personal or family history of Parkinson’s, the disease may only ring a bell because of some notable names attached to it. The late Muhammad Ali and actor Michael J. Fox are two household names that made their Parkinson’s diagnoses public. But even those who study Parkinson’s for a living do not know everything about this puzzling disease.
According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, the cause of Parkinson’s disease is largely unknown. While there’s no cure for the disease, various treatment options can help those diagnosed with the disease live as normal and productive a life as possible.
The PF notes that understanding the disease and its progression is the first step to living well. Though the foundation also notes that people first start experiencing symptoms later in the course of the disease, learning to recognize some early symptoms may compel people to seek treatment.
Tremor: Many people might experience shaking after a vigorous workout or when they are dealing with stress or injury. But the PF notes that a tremor in a finger, thumb, hand, or chin while at rest is a common early sign of Parkinson’s disease.
Small handwriting: Handwriting can change as people age, especially if they are experiencing stiffness in their hands or their vision is deteriorating. But micrographia, a disorder in which handwriting becomes abnormally small and cramped, is another early indicator of Parkinson’s disease.
Loss of smell: The PF advises people who are having trouble smelling foods such as bananas, dill pickles or licorice speak with their physicians about Parkinson’s disease. Temporary loss of smell due to something like the common cold, congestion or the flu is not an early indicator of Parkinson’s.
Difficulty sleeping: A significant other may notice their partner moving suddenly during sleep, and such movements may be indicative of Parkinson’s. The PF notes that periodic tossing and turning is normal, as is quick jerks of the body during initial sleep and in lighter stages of sleep are common and should not be mistaken for Parkinson’s.
Stiffness: Stiffness related to current or past injuries or even arthritis is not indicative of Parkinson’s. But stiffness in the arms, body and legs that is unrelated to injury or arthritis and does not go away with movement might be a sign of Parkinson’s. The PF notes that people sometimes describe this symptom by saying their feet feel stuck to the floor when they try to move.
Constipation: People who strain to move their bowels might be showing an early sign of Parkinson’s. However, various factors, such as dehydration and a diet without adequate fiber, can cause constipation. In addition, men and women on medication may want to look into side effects of their medications to determine if their medicine, and not Parkinson’s, is the cause of their difficulty moving their bowels.
These are just a few potential early indicators of Parkinson’s disease. Information about additional symptoms is available at parkinson.org.
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