Disability, General, Guest Bloggers

Early Signs of Parkinson’s Disease and How to Address Them

February 3, 2022 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: February 3, 2022

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder that affects the brain cells that produce dopamine—a chemical messenger in the brain which helps control movement.

When the brain cannot produce enough dopamine, symptoms can appear:

  1. Motor (movement) symptoms include issues with balance, slowness of movement, and limb stiffness.
  2. Non-motor (non-movement) symptoms include anxiety, sleep disorders, depression, and others.

While a slight tremor or shaking of a finger may be the most common sign of Parkinson’s, there are 10 early signs. Some of these signs include:

  • Small handwriting: a change in handwriting with cramped letters.
  • Loss of Smell: not able to smell foods like bananas, dill pickles, or licorice.
  • Trouble Sleeping: sudden movements during sleep, like thrashing around.
  • Trouble Moving or Walking: stiffness in the body, arms, or legs. Feeling stuck to the floor.

If you or a loved one experiences more than a few of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about seeing a movement disorder specialist (a neurologist with specialized training).

The age of diagnosis, progression, and symptoms are unique to every person. As the disease progresses, new symptoms may occur. With early detection, treatment and expert care, many people with Parkinson’s live longer, productive lives.

While there is no cure, medications and various treatments can help. Exercise helps people with Parkinson’s maintain balance and mobility. Building an expert care team can also maximize the quality of life. A care team can consist of a movement disorder specialist, a general neurologist, a physical and occupational therapist, a speech therapist, and others.

Resources That Work for You

The Parkinson’s Foundation is here for everyone living with and caring for someone with Parkinson’s disease.

  • Get empowered through the free PD Library — an extensive collection of educational tools.
  • Visit Parkinson.org or call the Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (1-800-473-4636) for more information.

Social Security offers programs that may provide financial assistance if your Parkinson’s prevents you from working. You can learn more about the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs on their Disability Benefits page.

Please share this information with your friends and family — and post it on social media.

Social Security’s posting of this blog does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of any non-Social Security organization, author, or webpages.

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  1. Langworth A.

    I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease around ten years ago, and it began in my left arm and hand. After it got chilly, I started having problems with my handwriting krunker being so poor that I couldn’t read it myself. About 6 years ago, I underwent dbs surgery. It helped with the symptoms but did not halt the progression.

  2. Brenda A.

    I was diagnosed 2 years ago at age 63. Symptoms were tremor in right leg, loss of handwriting ability,My normally beautiful cursive writing was now small cramped printing and soft voice. I also had difficulty rising from a seated position and have balance issues. I started out taking only Azilect, then Mirapex, and then Sinemet. Several months ago I started falling frequently, hence the reason for Sinemet. During the summer of 2021, I was introduced to Health Herbs Clinic and their effective Parkinson’s herbal protocol. This protocol relieved symptoms significantly, even better than the medications I was given. After First month on treatment, my tremors mysterious stopped, had improvement walking. After I completed the treatment, all symptoms were gone. I live a more productive life. I was fortunate to have the loving support of my husband and family. I make it a point to appreciate every day!

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    Thank you so much for this amazing article.

  4. Smith P.

    Thank you so much for this amazing article. Want to know more about this topic. Even I have heard that weight loss is also connected with Parkinson. Sometimes it happens in people. But they can also lose weight by natural ways like chaz bono has lost weight. Again thank you so much for tis post. It is amazing and brilliant.

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