Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that primarily affects the part of your brain that’s responsible for movement, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation. People living with this disease have a deficiency of dopamine, a brain chemical
that aids in controlling your body’s movement.
With April being Parkinson’s Awareness Month, it’s good to know the symptoms, potential causes, and risks that are associated with this debilitating disease in order to better help yourself and your loved ones.
Signs & Symptoms
The signs and symptoms for Parkinson’s disease can be different for everyone, according to Mayo Clinic studies. Symptoms tend to start gradually, such as a barely noticeable tremor in one of your hands. Although tremors are a common
sign of the disease, it also commonly causes your body to have stiffness or make your body move more slowly. Parkinson's signs and symptoms may include:
- Tremor – Also known as shaking, usually begins in a limb such as your hands or fingers; tremors can take on different forms, such as rubbing your thumb and fore-finger back and forth, known as a pill-rolling tremor,
or your hand may tremor when it’s at rest
- Slowed movement (bradykinesia) – With time, the disease may slow your movement, making simple tasks more difficult; steps may become shorter when walking and it may be more difficult to get our of a chair
- Rigid muscles – Also known as muscle stiffness, may occur in certain parts of your body; stiff muscles can be painful and limit your range of motion while trying to accomplish daily tasks
- Impaired posture & balance – Overtime, your posture may become stooped and you may possibly experience balance problems
- Loss of automatic movements – You may experience decreased ability to perform unconscious movement, such as blinking, smiling, or swinging your arms while you walk
- Speech changes – You may find yourself speaking more softly, quickly or hesitating before talking may occur; your speech may also become more monotone overtime
- Writing changes – As the disease progresses, it may become hard to write and your writing may appear smaller than usual