If you or a loved one have Parkinson’s, the symptoms of the condition tend to appear gradually. Having the knowledge to spot the signs early enables treatment to begin.
There is no cure for the brain disorder, but there is medication and therapies available to slow down the progression of the disease.
The American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) noted that “motor symptoms” may be apparent in the early stages of the condition.
One such motor symptom is known as “bradykinesia”. This is Greek for “slow movement”.
This can occur as problems with fine motor coordination, such as difficulty buttoning a shirt.
The NHS explained that “fine motor skills involve the use of the smaller muscle of the hands”.
This can be observed when using pencils, scissors, construction with bricks, and opening up food containers.
Are you – or somebody you know well – starting to struggle using their hands?
Bradykinesia can also appear in the form of a “mask-like expression” – also known as hypomimia.
To the untrained eye, hypomimia may come across as someone looking disinterested in what you have to say.
Moreover, a person with Parkinson’s disease may blink less often – a very subtle change that could easily go unrecognised.
Bradykinesia can extend itself to trouble rolling over in bed and/or small handwriting.
There are four primary motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease: tremor, rigidity, postural instability and (as mentioned above) bradykinesia.
One of the most noticeable signs of the disease is a tremor. It can appear in the hand, foot or leg.
Typically displaying itself at rest, in the beginning it’ll affect one side of the body.
As the condition worsens, the tremor may move onto both sides of the body.
APDA explained that rigidity “refers to a tightness or stiffness of the limbs or torso”.
Postural instability tends to become more apparent at a later stage of the disease.
This “includes the inability to maintain a steady, upright posture or to prevent a fall”.
Such balance problems in Parkinson’s are associated with the tendency to fall backwards.
“It’s important to know that not all of these symptoms must be present for a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease to be considered,” stated the APDA.
It elaborated by saying that a physician only needs to observe two or more motor symptoms to give somebody a diagnosis.
Other motor symptoms include walking or gait difficulties, dystonia (involuntary and repetitive movement) and vocal issues.
Somebody with the disease may begin to soften as they speak, and it can sound monotone.
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