Parkinson's disease is one of the major diseases that are related to your central nervous system. It is generally seen in old age, with slight tremors being the pathognomic early sign of it. With age, the brain cells and neurons tend to die after undergoing a breakdown. There is also the depletion of a major chemical messenger in the brain called dopamine which is also equally responsible for causing this disease. It affects men more commonly than females and has a genetic predilection with environmental factors playing a significant role. If the signs and symptoms are identified early, prompt treatment can be sought before it escalates to higher levels. A few of them are-
- Notice small tremors early- this is one the most important sign to look for. It may start with something as a tremor in the little finger. It may look like a small twitch but if it persists, it is always better to consult a doctor.
- Notice a change in the handwriting- there will be a significant change in handwriting. The letters will become tinier and the alphabet will be crowded together, giving the writing a very clumsy look. This can be a sign of Parkinson's disease.
- Inability to smell like before- substances which could be smelled easily and adequately before might suddenly become difficult to detect. This type of symptom is called anosmia and is an early sign as well.
- Sleep-related problems- having difficulties in sleeping and tossing and turning around for long durations of time is a sign as well. It can lead to insomnia which consequently leads up to dementia. A feeling of tiredness will persist most of the time.
- Trouble with walking and general movement- the arms does not have a coordinated movement with the legs and they might seem to be awkward. A feeling of being tied down to the ground is commonly experienced. Walking might be a laborious job. All these are early signs as well.
- A feeling of constipation- a problematic bowel movement leading to constipation is another sign of Parkinson's. Even though it is not an absolute indication, it needs to be considered as well.
- A change in the pitch of the voice- the pitch of the voice drops from what it was before. People become soft-spoken and barely audible with time.
- Facial masking- there seems to be perpetually blank expression on the fact all the time. It resembles a person wearing a mask. This is another important early sign.
- Feeling of dizziness especially on exertion- though there might be a number of reasons for it, the relation of it to Parkinson's disease cannot be entirely ruled out. Energy levels drop and exertion sets in faster.
- Change in posture- a person tends to slump or slouch instead of being upright. This along with other related signs can be indicative of Parkinson's disease as well.
Once the early signs and symptoms are identified, diagnosis of Parkinson's disease becomes more definitive and a treatment plan can be formulated in the initial stages itself.