Despite the fact that nearly one million individuals are living with Parkinson’s disease within the United States alone, the condition was perhaps first brought to the foreground by the diagnosis of Michael J. Fox. Since then, his foundation has funded breakthroughs in research and awareness that were previously unmatched, giving us hope for a future cure.
In the meantime, it’s important to understand Parkinson’s signs and symptoms in order to receive a timely diagnosis and the earliest possible intervention and treatment. Live Free Home Health Care’s Concord senior care team has the important information you need.
What Is Parkinson’s?
Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that affects an individual’s coordination, balance, and movement through tremors and progressive muscle stiffness and rigidity. While the exact cause is not known, researchers believe that contributing factors are both environmental and genetic. It also typically impacts adults ages 60 and older, although early onset Parkinson’s can develop prior to age 50. Furthermore, researchers know that men are diagnosed at a higher rate than women.
In addition to trembling and stiffness, Parkinson’s may also cause changes in emotion, such as depression, problems with eating and speaking, sleeping pattern changes, skin problems, and others.
The Early Warning Signs of Parkinson’s
In the very first stages associated with the disease, there are a number of red flags that can be detected, including:
- Changes in handwriting. Specifically, someone with Parkinson’s will begin to write much smaller, with words and letters crowded together. This condition is known as micrographia.
- Changes in smell. Loss of smell is common in early Parkinson’s, particularly in foods like bananas, dill pickles, and licorice.
- Changes in speaking. A hoarse tone or softer voice often accompanies Parkinson’s, although it is not always noticeable to the senior with the condition. She or he may suspect hearing loss in others as a reason for not clearly understanding what the individual has said.
- Changes in facial expression. Facial masking, the term for someone who seems to always have a serious or depressed facial expression, is common in Parkinson’s.
- Changes in posture. Look for a leaning or stooped posture when standing, along with a stiffness in the arms and legs when the individual is walking. One simple way to assess this is by observing if the individual’s arms swing naturally when walking. She or he might have a tendency to lean forward.
- Changes in sleeping. Someone with Parkinson’s may flail his/her arms and legs and also make other sudden movements while sleeping. These movements can be disturbing to a sleeping partner, who may seek alternate sleeping arrangements.
If you observe any of these changes in a senior you love, as well as the trademark signs and symptoms of rigidity and tremors, contact his or her physician at your earliest convenience for a comprehensive assessment. Then get in touch with Live Free Home Health Care for more resources related to Parkinson’s and in-home supportive services to make life safer and more comfortable throughout the progression of the disease. You can reach us any time at 603-217-0149 for more information about our award-winning home care specialists in Concord, NH and the surrounding areas, and to arrange for a complimentary in-home consultation.