Early Warning Signs of Parkinson’s Disease

Early Warning Signs of Parkinson's Disease

There are many unknowns when it comes to Parkinson’s disease, including the cause and a cure. For the sixty thousand Americans diagnosed each year, one thing is certain – the symptoms will only worsen over time. Fortunately, if diagnosed early enough, many of the symptoms listed below can be managed with medication, therapy, and other treatment options, helping to improve the patient’s quality of life.

Early warning signs of Parkinson’s disease include the following:

1. Tremors

Nearly 70% of people in the early stages of the disease will experience slight tremors (shaking) in the hand or foot on one side of the body. These tremors occur when the body is at rest or when the person is physically or emotionally stressed. For example, many individuals will notice the thumb rubbing against the forefinger, or the hands trembling when held loosely at the side. While tremors are one of the most common signs of Parkinson’s disease, not all individuals will experience this. As the disease progresses, these tremors may affect other parts of the body and symptoms may worsen.

2. Loss of Smell

A reduced sense of smell is a common, yet often overlooked symptom of Parkinson’s that may develop up to 10 years before a diagnosis. According to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, 96% of newly diagnosed Parkinson’s disease patients have lost some ability to smell. If you or a loved one has trouble smelling certain scents, consult your doctor to see if Parkinson’s may be a concern.

3. Cramped Handwriting

A sudden change in handwriting may be an early indicator of Parkinson’s disease. Many individuals will experience Bradykinesia, a term used to describe a slowness of movement and reflexes in the body. This causes difficulty with repetitive actions, especially handwriting. As the disease progresses, a person’s handwriting may appear smaller with words crowded together. The more a person writes, the worse this may appear.

4. Trouble Sleeping

Sleep disturbances are common with Parkinson’s patients. Many have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, often experiencing nightmares, muscle spasms, aches, and other sensations. Due to a lack of sleep, patients may also find themselves tired and restless throughout the day.

5. Speaking Softly

According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, nearly 90% of people with Parkinson’s experience changes in their speech. Many tend to speak in a monotone, and many find it difficult to articulate sounds or syllables. As the disease progresses, you may find that other vocal changes may occur.

Other symptoms of Parkinson’s may include:
– Constipation
– Masked face
– Dizziness or fainting
– Postural instability
– Difficulty moving and walking

A diagnosis of Parkinson’s may be devastating for families, especially those with no prior experience with the disease. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, you’re not alone. Sonas Home Health Care can refer a knowledgeable and loving caregiver to provide assistance to you and your family, from a few hours per day to ongoing longterm care. Give us a call at (888) 592-5855 to speak to a representative, or visit us online to Request a Free In-Home Assessment.