Know the early signs of Parkinson’s disease
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