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The ABCs of Parkinson’s: It’s Not Just About Shaking

tremor, shaking

Sherri Journeying Through

The next letter in a series on the ABCs of Parkinson’s is “N.” This is because the disease is not just about shaking.

When the topic of Parkinson’s disease comes up, it’s often met with a misunderstanding of what it really is. People immediately think of someone who shakes, if indeed they know much about the disease at all. But that’s not what Parkinson’s is. It does entail tremors, or shaking, but it is so much more than that.

Parkinson’s is not just shaking in one or more of the extremities (hands, arms, legs, and feet). While shaking can occur in only one extremity, it also can happen with all of them. It can include other parts of the body such as the head, the neck, the “insides,” the eyelids, or the mouth.

But again, Parkinson’s is not just about shaking.

When someone sees a person flailing about as they are walking/shuffling down the street, they may assume the person may have had a bit too much to drink. This is not necessarily true. Parkinson’s may (and has been known to) take the appearance of a drunken sailor, but the flailing about is not PD. It is a side effect of the medications taken to cope with the disease. Sad, but true.

Parkinson’s disease is unpredictable. PD is not a disease you can define other to say that it is ever-changing from one person to another. You may know someone with Parkinson’s, yet you will not find another who experiences the disease in the same way. There is nothing certain about the disease. It is not predictable. 

Most people do not, and cannot, understand this often misunderstood disease. They focus on the tremors or the dyskinesia (flailing about). They do not understand it may (or may not) entail other lesser-known symptoms such as depression, apathy, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome, drooling, and skin concerns. Other invisible symptoms can include sleep disorders, loss of smell, cognitive issues, moderate to extremely severe pain, dystonia, facial masking, visual and speech issues, mood changes, blood pressure irregularities, tripping, a shuffling gait, restless leg syndrome, and urinary dysfunctions, to name a few more. Yet, these still are not all of the symptoms.

The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are misunderstood because basically, they are not visible and therefore can’t be evidenced in most people who have PD.

We often do not believe in something we can’t see, diseases included. Many times we choose to believe a person is not struggling or suffering because we can’t see below the skin to where the real pain is occurring. That’s because Parkinson’s is not just about shaking. It’s so much more than that. 

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post The ABCs of Parkinson’s: It’s Not Just About Shaking appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

10 Early Signs of Parkinson’s Disease

Because Parkinson’s disease is a progressive condition, it can be difficult to spot the early warning signs. However, we’ve put together a list of 10 of the most common early signs and symptoms of the disease, according to the National Parkinson Foundation.

1. Tremors and Shaking
This is one of the most recognized symptoms. Although there could be many other reasons for tremors, facial-twitching or limb-shaking is a common early warning sign of Parkinson’s disease.

2. Small Handwriting
Many Parkinson’s disease patients find that their handwriting suddenly becomes very small. The way you write may also have changed if you are in the early stages of the condition.

MORE: Gregory Chandler’s amazing Parkinson’s story

3. Loss of Smell
Many people temporarily lose their sense of smell due to colds or the flu, but if the loss is sustained over a length of time without any noticeable congestion, then it could be an early sign of Parkinson’s disease.

4. Sleeping Disorders
Trouble sleeping can be attributed to many illnesses and Parkinson’s disease is one of them. Waking due to sudden body movements, or thrashing your legs in your sleep could be a warning sign of the condition.

5. Stiffness in Walking and Moving
General stiffness that can’t be attributed to exercise aches and pains and doesn’t ease up when moving around could be an early warning sign of Parkinson’s disease. Many patients complain that it feels like their feet are literally stuck to the floor.

MORE: Did you know that Parkinson’s disease patients may benefit from dancing?

6. Constipation
Unable to move your bowels is also a common early sign of Parkinson’s disease. Although this is a common enough problem in healthy people, Parkinson’s patients are more susceptible to constipation. If you suddenly find you’re constipated and consider your diet normal then you should have a doctor check you out.

7. Low or Soft Voice
A sore throat or a cold can change the way you speak, but if you have been experiencing a sudden softness to the tone of your voice and are now speaking in a quieter or hoarser tone, this could be an early symptom of Parkinson’s disease.

8. Masked Face
A face set into what others may perceive as a bad mood or being angry or depressed is a common early sign of Parkinson’s disease. Also, an expressionless face with unblinking eyes could be a warning sign.

MORE: Check some seated exercises for patients with Parkinson’s disease

9. Dizziness or Fainting
Feeling faint or dizzy is an indication of low blood pressure, which is an early warning sign of Parkinson’s disease. If you are regularly feeling dizzy when you stand up then you should see your doctor.

10. Stooped
If you suddenly become stooped or your back hunches over then this could be an early warning sign of Parkinson’s disease. A slouch or hunch could be attributed to other conditions, such as arthritis or other bone diseases, but you would need to see your doctor to determine the cause.

MORE: Did you know that there’s an eye test that can help detect Parkinson’s before first symptoms show up?

Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

The post 10 Early Signs of Parkinson’s Disease appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Source: Parkinson's News Today