Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder affecting patients in large numbers throughout the world. A debilitating movement disorder that is chronic and progressive, PD affects people over 65 years with tell- tale symptoms which continue and worsen over time.
Epidemiology: The incidence and prevalence of PD increases with advancing age, being present in 1% of people over the age of 65 years.
Early-onset Parkinson’s Disease (EOPD) is defined as the onset of Parkinsonian features before the age of 40 years. It accounts for 3-5% of all PD cases. It is classified into the ‘juvenile’ (occurring before the age of 21 years) and ‘young-onset’ PD (YOPD, occurring in the age range of 21- 40 years).
PD is twice as common in men as in women in most populations.
With such a large population living with Parkinson’s, either having the disease itself, caring for someone with Parkinson’s, or knowing someone affected, there should be more awareness of the condition. Yet, apart from the obviously visible symptoms, such as shakes and tremors, not many people would recognize the symptoms of Parkinson’s.
It’s probably not surprising, because it can be difficult to tell if you have the disease.
There are, however, 10 symptoms which can indicate that you may have Parkinson’s. Having one or two of these symptoms by themselves shouldn’t be alarming, but if you have a few of them, you should consider a visit your GP or health professional.
Tremors and shakes
This is the most commonly noticed symptom of Parkinson’s. This may come in the form of a tremor in your finger, hand, thumb, lip or chin. It may also be that your leg shakes when you sit and relax.
Dizziness or fainting
If you’ve been having dizziness on standing up, or if you sometimes feel like fainting, you should see your doctor. It could be a sign of low-blood pressure or something worse. There’s even a theory that dizziness can lead to dementia.
Lost sense of smell
Having trouble smelling certain foods, such as banana or liquorice? Has anyone commented on your perfume or after-shave, finding it far too strong? If so, you may need to see your GP.
Increased stiffness when moving or walking
You may notice stiffness in your hip or shoulder, or that you can’t swing your arms when you walk, or you may feel as if you’re walking with cement shoes on, but once these signs progress to the point where you’re finding it difficult to walk or move at all (shuffling gait}, you should probably get checked out. It could indicate that you have muscle stiffness, but it could also be a precursor to Parkinson’s.
Are you particularly ‘active’ during your sleep time? Flailing about, kicking or punching when you are asleep, or even falling out of bed are all early warning signs of Parkinson’s. You may be unaware of them, but it may pay for you to take note if your partner is telling you about such night-time activities.
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