Though Parkinson’s disease affects around 1 percent of people aged 65 years and older, symptoms often start slowly and appear over several years. Because of this, many early signs get missed. However, with early treatment, the severity could be slowed to provide a better long-term outcome.
When Parkinson’s disease is present, specific nerve cells (neurons) in the brain begin to break down or die gradually. Many of these symptoms become present when the neurons that create dopamine are affected. The reduced level of dopamine makes abnormal brain activity, increasing symptoms progressively.
Parkinson’s disease can start very subtle as a progressive nervous system disorder such as sudden stiffness or slowing of movement. Some might notice an issue with a speech first, while others might spot a problem with their facial expressions. When symptoms are known and discovered early, treatment can begin to help reduce the progression.
Some common symptoms to look out for include:
Tremors – often starting on one side of the body, tremors are defined as a persistent twitching
or shaking of the hand, leg, or chin.
Problems Sleeping – there is a wide range of sleep issues that could be symptoms of
Parkinson’s disease, including movements while sleeping, nightmares, insomnia, and excessive
Balance Issues – if your doctor suspects you might have Parkinson’s disease, they will most
likely try a balance test to see how your reaction and balance recovery are. Those with Parkinson’s will have a delayed response.
Changes in Your Voice – inflections or volume issues may start to appear in a person’s
everyday voice. Some notice a softer tone overall or that their voice suddenly fades or softens
as they talk.
Other early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease may also include:
● Posture issues
● Loss of smell
● Sudden change in handwriting
● Weight loss
● Reduced ability to make facial expressions
● Slowed or absent movements
When to Talk to a Doctor
Though these symptoms do not always indicate Parkinson’s disease, if you are over 60 and experience any of the above, talk to your doctor so they can do a full evaluation. There are several lifestyles and nonsurgical treatments available, and the earlier symptoms are discovered and treated, the better your quality of life can be.
Neurology Specialists in New York
New York Health features board-certified neurologists in Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Suffolk County, all treating a wide range of neurological conditions. At NY Health, we provide highly professional, sensitive, and personalized care. We continuously strive to deliver the best medical care possible with your well-being in mind. At NY Health, all of our patients are family.