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A progressive ailment of the central nervous system, Parkinson’s disease causes loss of cells in areas of the brain that produce dopamine–which in turn impacts the quality of life of its patients. The disease usually affects those over the age of 60.
A study published in the journal JAMA Neurology found that patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s in old age have greater motor impairment than those with early onset of the disease.
The Parkinson’s Foundation states that more than 10 million people worldwide live with the disease.
The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are gradual and mild at first. The three main symptoms associated with the condition are tremors in the hand or arm, slowness of movement, and muscle stiffness.
If you have parents above the age of 60, the possibility of Parkinson’s disease becomes an acute reality. As per a study published in the journal Ageing Research Reviews, ageing unleashes a number of stressors within the brain which weaken the neurons and their ability to respond leading to the onset of the disease.
Catching the disease early can help you help your parents manage it better. Here are a few early signs of Parkinson’s to look out for:
A slight twitch or shaking of a finger, hand or foot are perhaps the most common signs of Parkinson’s disease. The condition becomes worse as the disease progresses.
Early signs of the disease include uncontrollable movements.
According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, it can cause sleep difficulties and some people have problems sleeping even before movement symptoms develop and the disease is diagnosed.
3. Small handwriting
While it may not seem like much, a change in the size of your parent’s handwriting could be an early indicator of the condition. Parkinson’s patients often have micrographia or ‘small handwriting’ and writing that looks cramped.
According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, patients with Parkinson’s may have abnormalities in velocity, fluency, and acceleration in addition to micrographia.
4. Changes in voice
People with advanced Parkinson’s have slurred speech. Voice changes can occur during the early stages. According to scientists, such people often tend to speak in a low, hoarse voice in the beginning.
A stooped posture can also be an early sign of Parkinson’s disease. This happens because of loss of coordination and balance affecting the body.
A study published in the journal Dementia Neuropsychologia highlighted that gait disorders and postural instability are the leading causes of falls and disability in the disease.