Parkinson’s disease is a serious and progressive condition that typically occurs in the aging populations. Parkinson’s disease affects the central nervous system, which impacts the body’s ability to move and control its own movements. The signs of Parkinson’s disease often start off slow and may even be very subtle or even unnoticeable at first.
The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease will progress or get worse over time, which is why identification of symptoms and diagnosis is vital to treat, manage and slow the progress of the disease. Here are the early warning signs of Parkinson’s to watch out for:
Tremors are one of the main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease that get worse with time. Typically, the hands are the first body area to shake or experience tremors. These movements are also referred to as Parkinson’s dyskinesias, and can affect all parts of your body including the arms, face, legs and head. Physical therapy is one of the best ways to try and minimize Parkinson’s tremors. In addition, Levodopa is the medication most commonly prescribed to control the movement symptoms of Parkinson’s, yet not all patients respond to Levodopa
2. Rigid muscles and stiffness
Patients with Parkinson’s disease often deal with chronic muscle pain and stiffness. One of the main side effects of Parkinson’s medications is added stiffness to already aching muscles. Yet ongoing physical therapy can help cope with muscle pain and stiffness, and maintain mobility for longer.
3. Slower movement and decreased mobility
Many patients who suffer from this disease report slower movement and decreased mobility as time progresses. Since this disease affects the central nervous system, it affects the entire body as well as the body’s ability to move. As more and more nerve damage occurs, mobility may decrease significantly over time
4. Decreased facial expression
Another main side effect of Parkinson’s is decreased facial expressions. Many patients experience facial drooping, which leads to decreased ability to smile or show extreme emotions. In fact, Parkinson’s patients often develop a mask-like expression, which is known as hypomimia, because of reduced facial movements.
5. Arms that don’t swing when walking
When walking, your body’s natural reaction and movement is to slightly swing the arms in a rhythmic pattern. However, with Parkinson’s disease, patient’s arms often gradually stop swinging while you walk. This is often one of the tests that doctors give patients who are being diagnosed with the disease. If you or someone that you love may be struggling with movement, you can ask them to go on a walk. Observe their movements, especially their arms. If you notice that their arms are not swinging while they walk, you may want to arrange a visit with their doctor to discuss these concerns
Any noticeable change in how the body moves or feels should always be immediately reported to a medical professional. With Parkinson’s, like many other chronic conditions, the earlier you seek treatment, the more manageable your symptoms will be. Also, the sooner you start treatment, the less severe your symptoms will be and the longer they can postpone mobility decline.