Wondering about Parkinson’s disease? Do you know someone who suffers from it? Parkinson’s disease is a nervous system disorder that primarily affects mobility. Parkinson’s disease causes stiffness and restricts the movements of the patient. Often, it is hard to detect symptoms of this disease as it could be something as inconspicuous as a slight tremor in your hand. A progressive disease, the conditions worsen over time, making it important to identify and detect it at the earliest.
Read ahead to know about the symptoms that you must watch out for. Don’t worry, not every twitch or tremor is an indication of Parkinson’s, but if you notice more than one sign or symptom, make an appointment with your doctor at the earliest.
Common symptoms to watch out for
Different people experience various symptoms of Parkinson’s and there are no fixed symptoms that will affect everyone. Also, early symptoms are often mild and unnoticeable. It is important for us to be mindful and observant of the following signs of the disease:
- Tremors: Tremors or shaking of the hand, thumb, chin or fingers is an early sign of Parkinson’s. Observe when you feel the tremor – it could also be due to some medication, smoking or workout. However, if tremors occur when you are at rest, it is a common sign of this disease.
- Change in gait: Change in the way you walk (gait) can be changed significantly in people with Parkinson’s disease. The gait can be freezing (hesitation before taking the first step, dragging the feet to take short steps, shuffling or quickening of normal strides make it noticeable and distinctly termed as Parkinsonian gait.
- Smaller handwriting: Another small, often missable sign of Parkinson’s is the reduction in your handwriting size. If you can see that your handwriting is changing, the words are closer to each other and a little illegible, it is recommended to visit a doctor. Handwriting becoming smaller due to no apparent reason can be a symptom that must not be ignored.
- Restricted mobility: A stiffness in the body and reduction in mobility is a symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Normal stiffness goes away with movement, but not the ones associated with this disorder. If you notice that your arms are not swinging when you walk or you are unable to lift your feet off the ground, it could be a sign of Parkinson’s.
- Disturbed sleep: Most of us have disturbed sleep, where we toss and turn the entire night. However, if you notice this happening very often and feel like you “thrash” about in your sleep, visit your doctor. Disturbed sleep and sudden movements when you are in deep sleep are symptoms of Parkinson’s.
- Change in facial expression: Another sign that should not be missed is a change in facial expression. If you have been told that you appear grim and serious, even when you are not, consider visiting the doctor. Parkinson’s often causes a mask-like face, a symptom where the patient appears to be unhappy and displeased or without emotions, without actually being so.
- Hunching over: Stooping or hunching is not good for spinal health and if you notice that you are unable to avoid a hunch, even though you are trying to straighten your spine, it could be a sign of Parkinson’s.
- Change in voice: An entirely offbeat symptom, a change in your voice is often a sign of early Parkinson’s disease. This disease could make your voice become hoarse or very soft, often bordering on making you inaudible.
When to see a doctor?
If you notice any two or more of the above symptoms, you should consider visiting a doctor. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder that gets worse with time. Hence, it is best to be prudent and take necessary precautions.
What to do if you have Parkinson’s?
If your hunch has proven correct and you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, fret not. There are plans that you must make with your doctor to stay healthy.
- Physiotherapy, speech therapy and mobility drills will help to reduce the effects of the disease.
- Consultation with a neurologist to determine how mental functions will be affected and follow the treatment advised.
- Talking with friends and family for support and empathy.
Being diagnosed with Parkinson’s is not the end of the world. In fact, catching the disease early on is a boon, as necessary steps can be taken to slow down the progress and minimise other complications. Watch out for symptoms and don’t be afraid to visit the doctor if you notice anything out of the ordinary.
Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.