Learn The First Symptoms And When To Get Treatment
Parkinsons disease is a neurological disorder that affects about 1 million people in the United States. It primarily affects neurons in the brain that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine, a chemical messenger that sends signals from the brain to cells throughout the body.
Parkinsons is a degenerative illness, meaning it starts with mild symptoms that become worse over time. The early signs of Parkinsons are usually subtle, but ultimately the disease can cause debilitating symptoms that disrupt both physical and cognitive abilities.
The cause of Parkinsons is unknown, but may be a combination of genetics, lifestyle and environmental factors. The risk increases with age, but between 2 and 10 percent of people who develop the disease are diagnosed before age 50.
Early symptoms of Parkinsons
Parkinsons does not affect everyone the same way. Symptoms can vary from person to person, and the disease may progress at different rates, says Melissa Houser, MD, a neurologist at Scripps Clinic Torrey Pines. In fact, the first signs of Parkinsons may be vague or associated with other conditions like respiratory infections, making it difficult to know if they are caused by the disease or something else.
According to the Parkinsons Foundation, the following can be early symptoms. If you or a loved one has more than one of them on a regular basis, its a good idea to make an appointment with the doctor.
Loss of smell
Depression And Anxiety Are Also Early Warning Signs Of Parkinson’s How So
A: Like the other symptoms discussed here, late-onset depression and anxiety are nonmotor prodromal manifestations of the condition. It’s not that everyone who is depressed will get Parkinson’s, and the numbers are lower than they are for symptoms like anosmia and REM behavior disorder. But the link is important to explore, and we are doing more research on it all the time.
After Struggling For Four Years I Was Finally Given A Diagnosis At The Age Of 44
In July 2017, I found myself in yet another doctors office to see a third neurologist, this time for migraines. But the doctor didnt ask me about my headaches. Instead, he asked me to stand up and do a few exercises. Then, he sat down across from me, took a deep breath, and told me he suspected I had young onset Parkinsons disease .
I had been fighting for so long to figure out what was wrong with me that I had a small sense of satisfaction in receiving a diagnosis. But that satisfaction was fleeting and overwhelmed by an impending sense of fear. I knew there was no cure and I knew first-hand what the disease could look likemy father-in-law had Parkinsons disease. While I explained to my children that the disease affected everyone differently, they were worried I would end up like their Poppy, and I was too. I feared that this disease would take away my two greatest passions: my ability to take care of my kids and make art.
Most people with Parkinsons develop symptoms when theyre 50 or older, but 2 to 10 percent of uslike mebegin to experience signs of the disease earlier. Because young onset Parkinsons disease is so rare, its much harder to diagnose and many of us go untreated or misdiagnosed with something else.
Also Check: Parkinson’s Bike Therapy
Making Changes To Your Home And Lifestyle
- Modify your activities and your home. For example, simplify your daily activities and change the location of furniture so that you can hold on to something as you move around the house.
- Eat healthy foods. This includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, cereals, legumes, poultry, fish, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products.
- Exercise and do physical therapy. They have benefits in both early and advanced stages of the disease.
Signs Of Early Stage Parkinsons In Seniors
By Lutgarda Mariano 9 am on April 19, 2019
When Parkinsons disease is diagnosed and treated early, its progression may be slowed. Parkinsons is a neurological disorder that causes several noticeable symptoms. However, in the early stages, symptoms may be very subtle. Here are five warning signs of Parkinsons disease in older adults.
Read Also: Parkinson’s Hallucinations Commercial
Improving Your Motor Skills
- Work on your tremor. This may include things like putting a little weight on your hand to help reduce tremor and restore control.
- Improve speech quality by working with a speech therapist .
- Reduce problems with eating and drooling by changing how and what you eat.
- Practice overcoming “freezing” with various techniques, such as stepping toward a specific target on the ground.
- Be open about sexual function problems. Talk to your doctor about your specific issues. He or she may be able to suggest a change in your treatment, such as a change in your medicine or exercise.
What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinson’s Disease
The main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are:
- tremor or shaking, often when resting or tired. It usually begins in one arm or hand
- muscle rigidity or stiffness, which can limit movement and may be painful
- slowing of movement, which may lead to periods of freezing and small shuffling steps
- stooped posture and balance problems
The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease vary from person to person as well as over time. Some people also experience:
- loss of unconscious movements, such as blinking and smiling
- difficulties with handwriting
- drop in blood pressure leading to dizziness
- difficulty swallowing
Many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease could be caused by other conditions. For example, stooped posture could be caused by osteoporosis. But if you are worried by your symptoms, it is a good idea to see your doctor.
Recommended Reading: Similar To Parkinsons
The Importance Of Recognizing Early Symptoms
A lot of people believe Parkinsons early symptoms are natural symptoms of aging. They can not seek support, for that reason.
However, medication is more likely to be successful if a person takes it early on in Parkinsons disease development. For this reason, early diagnosis is critical where possible.
If treatment doesnt start until the patient has consistent signs, it wont be as successful.
In addition, related symptoms may occur in a variety of other conditions.
- multiple system atrophy
- progressive supranuclear palsy
It can be difficult for doctors to diagnose Parkinsons disease in the early stages due to similarity with other conditions.
Symptoms of movement can begin on one side of the body and progressively affect both sides.
Contact Sonas For Home Care Services In Florida
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinsons Disease, let us help you. At Sonas Home Health Care, we have an entire team of experienced caregivers to ensure the wellbeing of our patients.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home health care services in Florida, contact the caring staff at Sonas Home Health Care. Call today .
Jillian Miller BSN, RN
Recommended Reading: Sam Waterston Tremor
What Can You Do If You Have Pd
- Work with your doctor to create a plan to stay healthy. This might include the following:
- A referral to a neurologist, a doctor who specializes in the brain
- Care from an occupational therapist, physical therapist or speech therapist
- Meeting with a medical social worker to talk about how Parkinson’s will affect your life
For more information, visit our Treatment page.
Page reviewed by Dr. Chauncey Spears, Movement Disorders Fellow at the University of Florida, a Parkinsons Foundation Center of Excellence.
Sense Of Smell And Parkinsons: New Test Shows Promise
Is a diminishing sense of smell one of the early signs of Parkinsons disease?
In addition, researchers at the University of Michigan are working on a scratch-and-sniff test that may identify individuals developing PD 10 years earlier than we can now.
Its important to note that not everyone with low scores on the smell test will develop Parkinsons disease, says Michigan State University researcher Honglei Chen, lead author and professor of epidemiology. More research is needed before the smell test can be used as a screening tool for Parkinsons, but we are definitely on to something, and our goal now is to better characterize populations that are at higher risk for the disease and to identify other factors involved.
Don’t Miss: Judy Woodruff Health Problems
What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
Symptoms of Parkinsons disease and the rate of decline vary widely from person to person. The most common symptoms include:
Other symptoms include:
- Speech/vocal changes: Speech may be quick, become slurred or be soft in tone. You may hesitate before speaking. The pitch of your voice may become unchanged .
- Handwriting changes: You handwriting may become smaller and more difficult to read.
- Depression and anxiety.
- Sleeping disturbances including disrupted sleep, acting out your dreams, and restless leg syndrome.
- Pain, lack of interest , fatigue, change in weight, vision changes.
- Low blood pressure.
What To Do About Early Signs Of Parkinsons Disease
If youre concerned that youre experiencing early signs of Parkinsons disease, you should make an appointment with your primary care doctor.
Your doctor will refer you to a neurologist if he or she believes the symptoms youre showing are truly early signs of Parkinsons disease or another neurological problem. Advancements in the treatment of the disease are occurring at lightning-fast speed, and doctors agree that the sooner treatment is started, the better.
FROM THE AUTHOR
Also Check: Parkinson Silverware
What Medications Are Used To Treat Parkinsons Disease
Medications are the main treatment method for patients with Parkinsons disease. Your doctor will work closely with you to develop a treatment plan best suited for you based on the severity of your disease at the time of diagnosis, side effects of the drug class and success or failure of symptom control of the medications you try.
Medications combat Parkinsons disease by:
- Helping nerve cells in the brain make dopamine.
- Mimicking the effects of dopamine in the brain.
- Blocking an enzyme that breaks down dopamine in the brain.
- Reducing some specific symptoms of Parkinsons disease.
Levodopa: Levodopa is a main treatment for the slowness of movement, tremor, and stiffness symptoms of Parkinsons disease. Nerve cells use levodopa to make dopamine, which replenishes the low amount found in the brain of persons with Parkinsons disease. Levodopa is usually taken with carbidopa to allow more levodopa to reach the brain and to prevent or reduce the nausea and vomiting, low blood pressure and other side effects of levodopa. Sinemet® is available in an immediate release formula and a long-acting, controlled release formula. Rytary® is a newer version of levodopa/carbidopa that is a longer-acting capsule. The newest addition is Inbrija®, which is inhaled levodopa. It is used by people already taking regular carbidopa/levodopa for when they have off episodes .
What Are The Different Stages Of Parkinsons Disease
Each person with Parkinsons disease experiences symptoms in in their own unique way. Not everyone experiences all symptoms of Parkinsons disease. You may not experience symptoms in the same order as others. Some people may have mild symptoms others may have intense symptoms. How quickly symptoms worsen also varies from individual to individual and is difficult to impossible to predict at the outset.
In general, the disease progresses from early stage to mid-stage to mid-late-stage to advanced stage. This is what typically occurs during each of these stages:
Early symptoms of Parkinsons disease are usually mild and typically occur slowly and do not interfere with daily activities. Sometimes early symptoms are not easy to detect or you may think early symptoms are simply normal signs of aging. You may have fatigue or a general sense of uneasiness. You may feel a slight tremor or have difficulty standing.
Often, a family member or friend notices some of the subtle signs before you do. They may notice things like body stiffness or lack of normal movement slow or small handwriting, lack of expression in your face, or difficulty getting out of a chair.
Standing and walking are becoming more difficult and may require assistance with a walker. You may need full time help to continue to live at home.
Also Check: Fitflop Shoes For Parkinson’s
Masked Face Is Not Uncommon For Someone With Parkinsons Disease
Often a persons face becomes stiff and seems frozen in place. There may appear to be a grouchy or angry look about them. Or they may be staring ahead without blinking or expression. This can cause distress for them and those around them. People who are not aware of their condition may be uncomfortable around them.
How Early Can Parkinson’s Disease Be Diagnosed
A: A true determination of Parkinson’s disease is a clinical diagnosis, which means certain motor symptoms have to be present, but we now know more about some early signs of Parkinson’s disease that, while they don’t always lead to the condition, are connected.
In terms of how early we can detect, we can detect a mutation that is associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s as early as birth. In the minority of patients who may have a known Parkinson’s-related genetic mutation , that gene could be tested for at any time in life. At the same time, that’s not diagnosing Parkinson’s it’s just identifying the risk.
Early warning signs are what we call prodromal, or preclinical, symptoms. Prodromal symptoms are an early warning sign that someone might get Parkinson’s disease. Though some of these symptoms have a very high probability of signaling future Parkinson’s, having one or more of them is still not a 100 percent probability. Some prodromal symptoms are loss of sense of smell, REM behavior disorder, anxiety or depression, and constipation.
Also Check: Weighted Silverware
Stiffness In Walking Or Movements
People often experience stiffness that is not due to exercise or lack of exercise. Some people have mentioned that they feel like their feet are stuck to the floor.
The person may start taking smaller steps or dragging or shuffling their feet. They also may have difficulty gauging the size of steps to take. And things like the length of their stride can cause people to trip and fall.
The Most Important Thing
The diagnosis of Parkinsons disease is often delayed.
Unfortunately, people often neglect the early symptoms. It is not unusual for 5 years to go by before the patient is finally diagnosed with Parkinsons disease.
In addition to symptoms, a doctors examination may uncover additional early signs of Parkinsons disease.
Do not neglect these symptoms. Talk to your doctor early.
|Caution: This information is not a substitute for professional care. Do not change your medications/treatment without your doctor’s permission.|
Read Also: On-off Phenomenon
How Is Constipation An Early Warning Sign Of Parkinson’s It’s Such A Common Problem
A: It’s not as specific as other prodromal symptoms, like anosmia. The rate at which people with chronic and unexplained problems with constipation develop Parkinson’s disease is not as easy to pin down. But if someone has unexplained, persistent constipation, it should at least be noted, as it could be considered prodromal.
Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
The type, number, severity and progression of Parkinsons disease symptoms vary greatly. Every person is affected differently they may not get every symptom.
Some of the more common symptoms are:
- resting tremor
- blood pressure fluctuation
People living with Parkinsons for some time may experience hallucinations , paranoia and delusions . These symptoms are able to be treated so have a talk with your doctor.
Also Check: Does Sam Waterston Have Parkinsons
Do People Actually Lose Their Sense Of Smell With Parkinson’s
A: Yes. It’s a condition called anosmia, and if you have it with no other disease , you have at least a 50 percent chance of developing Parkinson’s disease in the next five to 10 years. What happens is that alpha-synuclein, the protein that clumps in the part of the brain that regulates dopamine and leads to Parkinson’s disease, also aggregates in the olfactory bulb, the part of the brain responsible for your sense of smell. This happens well before the protein accumulations cause motor symptoms.
Less Common Premotor Symptoms
The CARD symptoms are the most common early symptoms of Parkinsons disease.
However, some patients may have other early symptoms as well.
They are important to know. These symptoms may be dismissed as vague or strange at first.
|5 less common pre-motor symptoms|
Read Also: Diseases Similar To Parkinsons
Can Parkinsons Disease Be Prevented
Unfortunately, no. Parkinsons disease is long-term disease that worsens over time. Although there is no way to prevent or cure the disease , medications may significantly relieve your symptoms. In some patients especially those with later-stage disease, surgery to improve symptoms may be an option.
Early Symptoms Of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disease of the nervous system that affects movement. Approximately 1 million people in the U.S. are living with the disease. This year, about 60,000 more will be diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Many people associate Parkinson’s disease with tremors or shaking of their hands. While this is a common symptom, other important symptoms include stiffness of muscles and slowing of movement.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease usually start on one side of the body. They usually remain worse on that side even after symptoms begin to affect both sides.
The early signs and symptoms are different for each person. The symptoms may be mild enough to go unnoticed for months or years.
Here are early symptoms that can raise concern for Parkinson’s disease:
- Smaller handwriting
- Family members may observe that one arm swings less on one side when walking.
- Soft or low voice Again, it is family members or friends who may ask one to speak louder. The speech may be more of a monotone without the usual inflections.
It is the combination of several symptoms that would raise suspicion for Parkinson’s disease. A single symptom is not enough to make a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.
It is important to talk with your health care provider if you have any of the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease. This is to properly diagnose the condition and rule out other conditions with similar symptoms.
Leonardo Fugoso, M.D., is a neurologist in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
Read Also: Parkinson’s Double Vision