The progression of symptoms is often a bit different from one person to another due to the diversity of the disease. Treatments for Parkinson’s disease include therapies to help with movement problems, medicines and sometimes brain surgery. Early diagnosis is important so that patients can receive the proper treatment and advice regarding care.
The Parkinson’s Foundation has outlined several signs that you might have the disease.
It adds: “No single one of these signs means that you should worry, but if you have more than one sign you should consider making an appointment to talk to your doctor.”
As well as a tremor, some people may notice a loss of smell.
“If you seem to have more trouble smelling foods like bananas, dill pickles or liquorice, you should ask your doctor about Parkinson’s,” says the charity.
You may also notice that your handwriting has gotten much smaller than it was in the past.
“A change in handwriting may be a sign of Parkinson’s disease called micrographia,” says the charity.
Nonetheless, sometimes writing can change as you get older, if you have stiff hands or fingers or poor vision.
Sudden movements during sleep may be a sign of Parkinson’s disease may also indicate the condition.
An early sign might be stiffness or pain in your shoulder or hips. People sometimes say their feet seem “stuck to the floor.”
Constipation, or straining to move your bowels can be an early sign of Parkinson’s disease and you should talk to your doctor.
Feeling dizzy or fainting can be a sign of low blood pressure and can be linked to Parkinson’s disease, as can speaking more softly or you seem to be stooping, leaning or slouching when you stand.
The charity adds that if you have been told that you have a serious, depressed or mad look on your face, even when you are not in a bad mood, this is often called facial masking; “if so, you should ask your doctor about Parkinson’s disease”.
Parkinson’s is caused by a loss of nerve cells in part of the brain, though it is not clear exactly why this happens.
The Mayo Clinic says: “Because the cause of Parkinson’s is unknown, proven ways to prevent the disease also remain a mystery.”
It notes that some research has shown that regular aerobic exercise might reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
For example, doing 2.5 hours of exercise a week can slow the progression of your symptoms, according to Parkinson’s UK.
Exercise can help you manage physical symptoms and other symptoms such as sleep problems, fatigue, mood and mental health, the charity says.
It adds: “Exercise can be as important as your medication to help you take control and manage your symptoms.”
Parkinson’s disease is also often accompanied by additional problems, which may be treatable.
It’s thought around one in 500 people are affected by Parkinson’s disease, according to the NHS.