Parkinson’s Disease occurs when your brain stops making an important chemical called dopamine. Without dopamine, movements become difficult and patients suffer from tremors, lack of coordination, rigidity and poor balance.
You might think Parkinson’s Disease is something only older adults need to worry about, and that the signs and symptoms will be obvious. Although most Parkinson’s Disease patients are over age 50, it can affect anyone at any age.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease may be mild at first, and you may mistake a symptom for something else.
Learn to recognize the early warning signs of Parkinson’s Disease:
- Tremor or Twitching: even slight uncontrollable shaking of hands, fingers, face or legs might be a sign of early Parkinson’s disease, especially if it occurs when you are relaxing or sleeping.
- Feeling Stiff: If you feel a little bit like Frankenstein sometimes and you have trouble walking due to stiffness or pain in your shoulders or hips, it could be an early sign of rigidity caused by Parkinson’s disease.
- Bad handwriting: A sudden change in your handwriting, such as smaller letters and words that are crowded together, can signal Parkinson’s disease.
- Monotone voice: An early Parkinson’s disease is a change from your normal voice tone to a much softer and less expressive tone.
- Dizzy spells: Feeling dizzy or fainting can be signs of low blood pressure and can be linked to Parkinson’s disease.
Other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease you may experience include:
- Decreased eye blinking
- Drooling or difficulty swallowing
- Decreased facial expression (like wearing a mask)
- Muscle aches and pains
- Stooped posture
- Sweating and lack of body temperature control
If you have more than one of the above symptoms, you should make an appointment to talk to your doctor. Although there is no cure for Parkinson’s Disease, early diagnosis and treatment leads to better symptom control, so you can manage the disease for a longer, fuller life.
If you don't have a doctor, we can help you find one.