Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is classified as a neurological movement disorder. It is a progressive disease that impacts nerves within the brain that are responsible for producing dopamine, a chemical that promotes smooth, fluid movements and good muscle control. Getting early medical treatment for Parkinson’s symptoms and finding Parkinson’s home care in Palm Beach are two of the best things that people can do to retain basic motor functions and maintain a high quality of life. Following are eight early warning signs of Parkinson’s and what they mean.
1. Shaking and Tremors
Uncontrollable shaking of the hands and digits, tongue, lips, legs or chin are among the first signs of Parkinson’s. A breakdown in dopamine-producing neurons results in reduced muscle control during the earliest stages of this disease. Tremors or shaking typically occur when the individual is at rest.
2. A Diminished Sense of Smell
One of the very first early warning signs of Parkinson’s is a diminished sense of smell. Loss of smell during the flu or cold is normal, however, if this is prolonged, it could be a sign of Parkinson’s. Loss of smell can appear several years before cognitive and motor symptoms.
3. Altered Sleep Habits
Sudden jerks and other extreme movements like kicking, punching, and even falling out of the bed can make it difficult for seniors with PD to sleep. Like tremors, these episodes are related to a loss of voluntary muscle control.
Speaking in a soft, whispery voice even though the person feels as though they are projecting their voice is one of the early warning signs of Parkinson’s as well. This is the result of diminished coordination in the vocal musculature.
5. Facial Masking
Many seniors with PD develop what is known as a “masked face”. This is what happens when facial expressions are muted due to a lack of facial muscle control.
6. Hunching or Stooping
The inability to maintain good posture and a fully erect stance is another sign of diminished muscle control. Issues with leaning or hunching can become increasingly difficult to correct as PD progresses.
7. Muscle Tension and Rigidity
Tightening in the elbows, knees, hips and wrist are common problems among those with PD. Rigidity or uncontrolled tightening in these areas can gradually limit a person’s overall mobility.
8. A Shuffling Gait
Seniors with PD often maintain a small, shuffling gait because the area of the brain that controls movement is heavily impacted by PD and many normal forms of movement become difficult. Failing to swing the arms when walking or difficulty starting, stopping, or turning are all reasons to talk with the physician about being tested for Parkinson’s disease.
To learn more about the early warning signs of Parkinson’s, or to find out how a caregiver in Palm Beach can help your senior loved one maintain a happy, healthy lifestyle, reach out to Palm Beach Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are highly trained, compassionate, and available 24/7 to assist your senior loved one. Call us at (561) 429-8292 to schedule a free in-home consultation with one of our experienced and trusted Care Managers.