Parkinson’s disease is a long-term (chronic) neurological condition.
Parkinson’s Disease named after Dr James Parkinson, who first identified it in 1817. Parkinson’s disease affects the way the brain co-ordinates body movements, including walking, talking and writing.
This disease affects men and women, although men are statistically slightly more likely to develop it than women.
The risk of getting PD increases with age. Symptoms usually appear in people who are over the age of 50. However, younger people can also be diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Here are some early symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.
- cramped handwriting or other writing changes
- tremor, especially in finger, hand or foot
- uncontrollable movements during sleep
- limb stiffness or slow movement (bradykinesia)
- voice changes
- rigid facial expression or masking
- stooped posture
Early signs of Parkinson’s disease can be easy to miss, especially if they occur sporadically. It may be time to see a doctor if you are noticing symptoms that keep appearing.
A sudden change in the size of your handwriting may be an early indicator of Parkinson’s disease. People with PD have a hard time controlling movement because of the changes in the brain. This can make fine motor skills like writing more difficult.
Tremor is perhaps the most recognizable sign of Parkinson’s disease. A slight twitching or shaking of a finger, hand, or foot is common. The person experiencing the tremor is likely to be the only person who notices them in early stages of PD.
Early signs of the disease can include many uncontrollable movements, not just occasionally, but on a regular basis. Kicking, thrashing, flailing your arms, and even falling out of bed can be indications of a serious problem.
Stiffness and slow movement
Stiffness of the limbs (rigidity) and slow movement (bradykinesia) appear early on with PD. These symptoms are caused by the impairment of the neurons that control movement. A person with PD will notice jerkier motions and move in a more uncoordinated pattern than before. Eventually, a person may develop the characteristic “shuffling gait.”
Parkinson’s disease affects movement in different ways, including how you speak. You might be familiar with the slurred speech of advanced PD patients. Less dramatic voice changes can occur in early stages of the disease
Parkinson’s can affect the natural facial expressions in addition to gross motor skills. People often comment that some individuals with PD have a blank stare.
Voicing your concerns
Parkinson’s disease is a serious and chronic condition. The treatment is significantly more successful when the disease is caught in its earliest stages. Diagnosis can be difficult, as many of the early signs are like those in other health conditions.
Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about your physical movement or behaviour, or if something doesn’t feel right.