What Are The Early Warning Signs of Parkinson’s Disease?

by | Jul 1, 2020 | Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a nervous system disorder that tends to develop slowly over several years. The signs may be subtle at first and easily missed. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with PD each year.


The main symptoms people recognize as distinctively belonging to Parkinson’s are shaking or tremors and rigid, slow movements. There may be noticeable differences in speech, as well. 


Here are some of the early warning symptoms you should be aware of. 


1. Shaking and Tremors Are Common Signs Of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson's Disease Tremors


A slight tremor or shaking is one of the first obvious signs for Parkinson’s. While there could be many other reasons for shaking and small tremors, it’s important to take this one seriously. Also, facial-twitching or tics that appear and don’t leave. 


2. Stiffness in Walking or Movements


People often experience stiffness that is not due to exercise or lack of exercise. Some people have mentioned that they feel like their feet are stuck to the floor. 


The person may start taking smaller steps or dragging or shuffling their feet. They also may have difficulty gauging the size of steps to take. And things like the length of their stride can cause people to trip and fall. 


3. Sleeping Issues Plague many With Parkinson’s Disease

Man with Parkinson's disease


Trouble getting to sleep or remaining asleep can also be early signs of Parkinson’s. Often patients report waking because their limbs are twitching, thrashing, or sharking. 


Additionally, there may be an increase in nightmares. This can cause insomnia at night. And may lead to extreme tiredness during the day and even narcolepsy and sleep apnea. 


4. Small Handwriting Is a Surprising Symptom Of Parkinson’s Disease


Many people in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease find their handwriting changes. More often than not, it gets smaller. It may change in style, as well. Additionally, there may be other smaller things that the patient is unable to do any more. 


5. Masked Face Is not Uncommon For someone with Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson's Disease Masked Face


Often a person’s face becomes stiff and seems frozen in place. There may appear to be a grouchy or angry look about them. Or they may be staring ahead without blinking or expression. This can cause distress for them and those around them. People who are not aware of their condition may be uncomfortable around them.


6. Loss of Sense of Smell Is Also Common


This may happen due to a temporary illness. But if it continues after an illness or happens without any illness attached to it Pay attention. Loss of smell could be an early sign and should be checked out. 


This is quite common and while they may not notice, others around them will. They may be unable to detect body odor, smell smoke, or if something is burning or smell the difference between two items. 


7. Dizziness or Fainting May Be a Sign of Parkinson’s Disease


This can often occur when someone has low blood pressure.  And these symptoms are also an early sign of Parkinson’s. And this can happen when you stand up or it can also be a dizzying sensation all day. 


8. Low or Soft Voice Can Be seen in the Early Stages


Your voice may get very soft and lose all inflection when you speak. It is not uncommon for people to have slurred speech in advanced stages. So be aware of differences in speech or voice patterns. Most often in early stages is a softening of the voice. 


9. Stooped Posture Is An Early Indicator of Parkinson’s Disease


There may be small changes in your postures and they will gradually get worse. Stooped over or the look of one seemingly leaning over or slouching can be an early indicator of Parkinson’s.  And this will only get worse, not correct itself over time. 


10. Stillness


The term Bradykinesia refers to a lack of movement or slowness of movement. It may be noticeable in the way a patient walks or perform small tasks. Sometimes they have difficulty starting the movement at all. 



Other Symptoms



Along with the physical symptoms that are more noticeable, there are psychological symptoms that can also be present. And these are perhaps harder to detect initially. These include:



● Depression

● Dementia

● Anxiety

● Psychosis

● Disorganization 

● Confusion

● Difficulty making simple plans 

● Reduced problem-solving ability


There are other signs, as well, like weight loss or constipation. And these should both be taken seriously if they persist or don’t seem to be changing. 


Of course, having one or even a few of these signs or symptoms doesn’t mean you have Parkinson’s. But it does mean you should consult your medical professional as soon as you notice any. 


Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder. Furthermore, it leads to shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with walking, balance, and coordination. While there are medications to control the symptoms of Parkinson’s, there is no cure. 


There are five stages of Parkinson’s disease, each getting worse. And this is why taking these early signs of the disease seriously can head off a lot of the worse symptoms before it gets too severe. 


If you or someone you know has any of these signs, please visit your medical health care provider and get tested. It can be very difficult for the patient and those who care for them in the later stages. While it can’t be cured, there is still a great deal of quality of life to be considered. 

The staff at Sycamore Creek Ranch is proactive. That means we are not waiting for a problem to arise. Instead, we are actively engaged with each and every resident. And with only 16 residents we can do that!  Come for a tour at Sycamore Creek Ranch! See how we can help!

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