April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month. More than 10 million people worldwide are currently living with Parkinson’s disease, and the risk of developing Parkinson’s increases as you age. Knowing and understanding the warning signs can aid in early diagnosis and proper treatment.
10 Early Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
First of all, it’s important to note any significant changes in your loved one’s behavior or health. Even if these signs aren’t symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, it’s important to address any potential issues as soon as they arise.
Below are the 10 most common and noticeable symptoms of Parkinson’s disease to be aware of if you suspect there could be a problem:
- Tremors – The onset of tremors is subtle with Parkinson’s disease. The person experiencing them is usually the only one to notice. As the disease progresses, these tremors worsen.
- Walking challenges – If you notice a change in the way your loved one walks, it could be a sign something is off. Typically with Parkinson’s disease, a slight shuffling of the feet becomes noticeable over time.
- Change in handwriting – If you begin to notice abnormally small or cramped handwriting, it could be an early warning sign of Parkinson’s. This symptom is called micrographia, and it is often present at the initial onset of the disease.
- Issues with sleep – Insomnia, fatigue, nightmares and twitching are all common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
- Inability to smell – An olfactory dysfunction can be an issue in people with Parkinson’s disease. Don’t be afraid to ask your loved one if they’re experiencing a loss of smell.
- Facial expressions – People suffering from Parkinson’s disease can sometimes experience a decreased ability to make facial expressions. The complex muscle movement involved in making facial expressions is easy to take for granted.
- Poor posture – Over time, Parkinson’s can cause a hunched posture that becomes more and more noticeable.
- Constipation – While this symptom on its own could be a sign of many different issues in seniors, if paired with any of the other early Parkinson’s symptoms, it could be a sign that your loved one needs to be examined by a medical professional.
- Weight loss – Again, on its own, weight loss could be a sign of a variety of health issues. But, when moderate weight loss is paired with any of these other symptoms, it’s important not to ignore it.
- Voice changes – When the volume and tone of a person’s voice begins to change, this could be an early warning sign of Parkinson’s disease.
Many of these symptoms are common in a variety of illnesses that seniors experience. But when you notice multiple symptoms at the same time, it’s important you make an appointment with your loved one’s physician. Don’t be afraid to bring your concerns to the table.
Memory Care and Assisted Living for Parkinson’s Disease
If you and your loved one think it’s time to consider assisted living because of Parkinson’s disease or a memory concern, our caring and compassionate staff at Peregrine Senior Living helps our residents experience continued growth, a sense of purpose and validation. It is our goal to emphasize what remains for our seniors, instead of focusing on what was lost. That’s the Peregrine Way®, and you will only find it at our memory care community.