Finding Early Signs of Parkinson’s Disease
Knowing the early signs of Parkinson’s disease allows you to take your loved one to a physician sooner rather than later. April is Parkinson’s awareness month, a time to ask questions and get educated on the disease. The Parkinson’s Foundation is urging us all to take action and start talking, naming this years theme “Start a Conversation”. Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects dopamine-producing neurons in the brain. The symptoms generally develop over the course of years. Those who suffer from the disease will generally experience tremors, slowing movements, rigid limbs and gait and balance problems. However, it is still possible to have a very fulfilling life with PD. Below is a list of 10 signs that you can watch for in your loved ones. Noticing one should not cause immediate alarm, but if you notice several, it may be time to make an appointment.
Early Signs of Parkinson’s Disease
Noticing a tremor of the hands, chin or fingers while at rest is the most common sign for PD. It is important to note though, that shaking is normal after exercising, after an injury or due to stress. Some medications can also trigger tremors.
Loss of Smell
Of course, your sense of smell will change when your are sick with a cold or the flu. However, if you notice that your loved one complains about a lack of smell when they are not sick, it may be a sign of PD. Pay close attention to their ability to smell items like banana, dill pickles and licorice.
Trouble Moving or Walking
Stiff arms, legs and hips are sometimes a warning sign of PD. Often, those with PD say they feel as if their feet are stuck to the floor. It is normal to experience stiffness after an injury or just after waking up.
Change in Voice Volume and Tone
Our voices often change while we are sick, but should go back to normal once we start to feel better. Pay attention to your parent or grandparent adopting an unusually hoarse or soft voice when they are not ill.
Those with Parkinson’s disease often look as if they are very angry, depressed or serious, even when they are happy. the phenomenon is called facial masking. Some medications can trigger facial masking, but if medication has been ruled out, it might be best to see a doctor.
Other warning signs include, but are not limited to:
- Stooping or hunching over
- Smaller Handwriting
- Trouble Sleeping