Parkinson’s Disease: Signs & Symptoms

    This is the second article in this series of four informative articles about Parkinson’s disease.

    The first article in this series of four articles was Introduction, definition and Causes” of Parkinson’s disease.

    Have you ever wondered as to why some old people get Parkinson’s disease while others are hail and healthy?

    • Was it his bad habits, not doing something or his wayward habits which made him get the disease?
    • Is there any way to detect whether I am also likely to get such a disease which, I am told has no real cure?
    • What will I do if I come to know that I am also getting Parkinson’s disease?

    Well, we may not make you an expert in all matters connected with this progressive disease which mostly afflicts older people, but we will like to give you enough information so that:

    • you have adequate information to recognize this disease when you see the signs and symptoms in someone and
    • Know the proper course of action to be adopted so that the problem is diagnosed authoritatively since it may, hopefully, Parkinson’s disease in its early stages. This aspect is very vital since the main problem with this disease is that, in most cases, diagnosis is made when the disease has progressed significantly.

    The symptoms

    Some slight signs and symptoms might be discernible in some cases.

    These would, if at all, be in the form of a light tremor or involuntary movement in your:

    • Lips, Chin, hands, Fingers or Thumb,
    • Involuntary movement or shaking in the legs when you are immobile or
    • Shaking, trembling or Twitching in the limbs.

    The above are some of the early signs of the advent of Parkinson’s disease; but, it would not be advisable to jump to conclusion and get panicky.

    The symptoms above can just be anything else; or nothing at all because our body sometimes behaves in unknown ways without any known reasons.

    Depending on the severity of Parkinson’s disease and its effects on the patient, the following are the early signs and general symptoms:

    • Trembling and tremors in movement,
    • Involuntary movements of the head and limbs,
    • Loss of some natural movements like smiling and blinking,
    • Stiffness and inhibited movements and
    • General loss of control over movements.

    The research over the years has come up with other symptoms which may point to Parkinson’s. They are:

    • Loss of the sense of smell could be a sign of this disease,
    • Constipation could be due to PD; it may also be due to some medicines, something you eat or less drinking of water. A diagnoses is a must,
    • Changes in the pitch of voice suddenly could be PD; It may just be due to a common cold or some virus though.
    • A mask-like face making you look wild, depressed or grave could be PD; or, it may be medications that you have been taking.
    • Dizziness or fainting could be due to low Blood Pressure which is also an indicator of approaching PD; it may be weakness but it is always necessary to be sure,
    • Sudden change in gait If you have suddenly started hunching over or stooping while walking it could be PD,
    • Changes in handwriting where you start writing smaller letters or writing words without proper spacing could also be PD; if it is gradual, fine. Otherwise, a consultation with your doctor may be on the cards and
    • Restlessness, tossing and turning during sleep could also be PD

    But, we still do not know enough. The symptoms may just affect one side of the body, later they may move to the other side as well.

    Saurabh Singhal
    Saurabh Singhal
    Saurabh is a surgeon who has completed his MS from AIIMS, a reputed medical school of India. One of the founders of Zigverve. Occasionally drumming for the band Alexithyme. Desires to help people keep themselves fit and healthy, and thus doing his bit in the direction through Zigverve.

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