10 Early Signs of Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the nervous system that mostly affects older people. Changes in pattern of movement and behavior can point to the beginning of Parkinson’s disease. Symptoms usually develop slowly over several years. The major symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are tremors and slow, rigid movements.

Timely intervention is essential after noticing Parkinson’s disease because early treatment can improve the long-term result of the disorder.

1. Tremors

Tremors involve a persistent twitching or shaking of the legs, hands, or chin. Tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease are very elusive when they initially appear. Tremors is described as a major typical sign of Parkinson’s disease by most healthcare professionals.

Tremors do appear on one side of the body and then spread to other parts of the body later on. The tremors are called “rest tremors.” This means the tremors stop when a person uses the affected body part.

At the early stage, the tremors is usually slight, but gradually deteriorates as the disease progresses.

2. Loss of smell

The inability to smell any odor is called hyposmia or olfactory dysfunction. Parkinson’s disease usually causes loss of smell.

Though not related to movement, loss of smell is one of the most noticeable symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. It can appear several years before the disease affects movement. Other symptoms associated with hyposmia are:

  • Difficulty identifying or/and detecting odors
  • Dull sense of smell
  • Difficulty telling the difference between odors

Doctors use smell identification tests to diagnose hyposmia, but the precision of these tests varies greatly.

Hyposmia does not necessarily imply that someone has Parkinson’s disease. Other factors that can affect a person’s sense of smell include smoking, age, or exposure to harsh chemicals.

3. Difficulty walking

Another early sign of Parkinson’s disease is changes in a person’s walking pattern. Parkinson’s disease may cause a person to walk slowly or drag their feet as they walk. The person might walk at an uneven pace, suddenly walking faster or slower.

4. Sleep problems

Parkinson’s disease can also affect a person’s ability to sleep. People with Parkinson’s disease may experience a wide range of sleep-related symptoms:

  • sleep apnea
  • insomnia
  • narcolepsy (inability to remain awake)
  • uncontrolled or sporadic movements while asleep
  • daytime fatigue
  • nightmares

5. Vocal changes

Vocal changes is another early sign of Parkinson’s disease. Changes in volume and quality of vocal sound may involve speaking in a softer tone, or starting to speak at a usual volume and then the voice becomes softer or diminishes.

6. Facial masking

Parkinson’s disease often leads to facial masking – an inability to properly make facial expressions. In facial masking, the facial muscles move slowly and rigidly than normal. Facial masking can make someone to slowly or may find it hard to communicate with others due to changes in their facial expressions.

7. Psychological symptoms

Parkinson’s disease can affect a person psychologically. The disease lowers the body’s natural levels of dopamine, which can cause changes in mood and behavior.

Some psychological symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease include depression, psychosis, confusion, anxiety, dementia:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • psychosis
  • dementia
  • confusion
  • difficulty making plans or staying organized
  • reduced problem-solving ability

8. Poor balance

Parkinson’s disease affects the basal ganglia (nerve cells located deep within the brain). These nerves control balance and flexibility, so any damage to these nerves can damage the proper balance of a person.

The “pull test” is usually used to assess the balance of a person with Parkinson’s disease. The involves gently pulling a person’s shoulders backward until they lose their balance and recording how long it takes them to regain their balance.

9. Bradykinesia

Bradykinesia means slowness or absence of movement. This condition causes stiffness of the limbs and slow movements.

10. Small, cramped handwriting

The condition that involves abnormally small or cramped handwriting is called micrographia. This condition affect the nervous system of people with Parkinson’s disease.

Disclaimer: The content provided on healthdiary365.com is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical doctor or healthcare professional.

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