The Early Signs of Parkinson's Disease: Here's What You Need to Know
What to know about early signs of Parkinson's Disease
Approximately 500,000 people in the United States are living with Parkinson’s Disease right now, and while there are still things that are being learned about this diagnosis, there are plenty of things that doctors and scientists do know.
For instance, professionals know that Parkinson’s Disease starts in the neurons of the brain. These neurons control movement, and in Parkinson’s, the neurons die. As dopamine levels decrease, symptoms become more apparent. Since this is a progressive disease, the early symptoms are quite easy to miss, but over time, they gradually become more apparent. If you’re wondering if you or someone you love could have Parkinson’s Disease, you’ll want to start with a doctor’s appointment, but it’s important to know some of the early signs of Parkinson’s.
For instance, one of the first changes that can often be seen in Parkinson’s patients are voice changes. The voice might become hoarse, low, or even monotone. Since Parkinson’s impacts motor skills, handwriting changes, including small and cramped writing, are often seen. Early on, many Parkinson’s patients begin experiencing a distinct gait and shuffling footsteps, as well as jerky, uncoordinated motions.
Perhaps one of the most unexpected early signs of Parkinson’s Disease are sleep disturbances. Uncontrollable movements during sleep, including flailing and kicking, can be attributed to the onset of Parkinson’s Disease.
Parkinson’s patients often describe their earliest symptoms as having included slower movements and a certain stiffness. While this is often normal for older adults who are waking up, this feeling shouldn’t persist all day. Another interesting early sign is called masking, in which the facial expression becomes rigid.
Perhaps one of the most recognized early Parkinson’s signs is a tremor, which could occur in a finger, foot, or hand.
If you or someone you love are experiencing any of these symptoms and are worried that Parkinson’s might be the reason, schedule an appointment with a primary care physician today to discuss a diagnosis and treatment options. Right at Home caregivers can help your loved one stay independent in their home after a diagnosis such as this one.