Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that interrupts the signals the brain sends and receives to control action or automatic reflexes. Organs and body functions rely on the brain’s instructions to carry out the most basic physical and cognitive tasks. While there is no proper cure for the disease, Parkinson’s can still be managed with early diagnosis and ongoing treatments to improve quality of life. Here are the early signs of Parkinson’s disease.
One of the first signs of developing Parkinson’s is hand tremors. These noticeable uncontrolled movements usually first develop from the thumb and spread across that palm, affecting the entire hand. These tremors are also referred to as resting tremors because the movements are not so evident when the hand is being actively used but develop abruptly when it is in a resting or relaxed position.
Balance and posture problems
Parkinson’s interferes with the brain and body’s communication signals controlling balance and posture. Patients often develop either rapid uncontrolled movements called hypokinesia or slow uncontrolled movements called bradykinesia. Either way, this affects a person’s balance while doing basic activities like standing, walking, and maintaining a straight posture. Muscle weakness and rigidity will also force the affected person to develop a stooped or hunched-over posture. Also, the disruption in communication prevents the body from correcting back to a better posture.
Changes in speech and expressions
Parkinson’s patients also develop a monotone voice and often have trouble changing the pitch and projection. This is followed by incomprehensive speech with trouble constructing a legible sentence, stuttering, or slurring while trying to speak normally. Often, changes in speech are coupled with changes in expression. Parkinson’s severely impacts the muscles controlling facial expressions to smile, frown, or react appropriately. Loss of muscle control can trigger failed expressions that don’t match the particular response.
Loss of automatic reflexes
The brain is the primary control center for all actions and functions that the mind and body rely on actively normal functions. Parkinson’s affects these neurons that carry signals and messages, interrupting the simplest of tasks. Even breathing, swallowing, blinking, and adjusting vision to focus on distant and close-up objects becomes difficult with a lack of automatic reflexes. These discomforts are often combined with muscle rigidity and weakness. This makes simple tasks like buttoning up shirts, gripping, or even picking up simple objects in general.
Changes in handwriting
Micrographia is a common complication that develops alongside Parkinson’s disease. In this, the patient’s handwriting becomes small where the alphabets look grouped. This happens because Parkinson’s majorly affects the fine and gross motor skills that control hand reflexes for writing. The handwriting keeps getting smaller with the progressive condition, and at one point becomes illegible.
Loss of smell, digestive problems, and experiencing erratic sleep are among the common complications that develop alongside Parkinson’s. It is advisable to get any sign of progression checked at the earliest to start treatments early and improve the outlook on living with the condition.