Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition that affects neurons in certain parts of the brain. Symptoms generally develop over many years, but each person is different. There is no known cause of Parkinson’s, and treatment can be uncertain as well. While there is no cure for Parkinson’s, medications and surgery can be helpful in slowing the progression.
Below we share some of the potential early signs of Parkinson’s. If you have any of these symptoms, do not panic. It’s possible that they could be from something else. Schedule an appointment with your doctor or a neurologist to discuss these symptoms in more detail.
Tremors while at rest can be a sign of early Parkinson’s. These tremors are usually found in the hands, fingers or chin. Shaking can also be a side effect of certain medications and is normal after exercise, certain injuries or high stress levels.
Loss of Smell
If you can’t smell foods as well as you used to, it’s possible that it’s due to Parkinson’s disease. More research is being done on this relationship, as some scientists believe that a loss of smell is a key risk factor for Parkinson’s.
Sudden movements while sleeping can be a symptom of Parkinson’s. Ask your partner if they’ve noticed you thrashing around in bed. This is different than tossing and turning, so do not confuse the two. Tossing and turning is normal, but fast, jerking movements are not.
Trouble Moving or Walking
Some people with early Parkinson’s have trouble getting around. They tend to feel stiff or like their feet are stuck to the floor, a common reason why people with Parkinson’s tend to shuffle when they walk.
Stooping or leaning when you stand can mean that you have Parkinson’s, especially if you didn’t used to do this. However, a problem with the bones can also cause slouching, so talk to your doctor about what’s going on.
Some people with Parkinson’s start to talk softly or in a low voice. It’s common for older adults to think that they’re losing their hearing and this is why their voice sounds different, when really, it’s an early sign of Parkinson’s.
If you are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, know that there are ways to stay healthy and prolong the progression. Work closely with your doctor and a neurologist to discuss diet, rest, exercise and medications.