Early signs of Parkinson’s
Often associated with ageing, signs of Parkinson’s disease usually become apparent after the age of 60, with early onset Parkinson’s sometimes occurring in those over 50 years of age. It can be difficult to detect, as signs appear slowly and gradually worsen – but here we assess some of the most common early signs you may notice.
Insomnia and fatigue
Changes in your sleeping habits can be a common early sign of Parkinson’s disease. While this can be caused by many different issues, insomnia combined with other signs may be significant. You might also feel unusually fatigued, in a way that does not improve even after sleeping.
A change to your sense of smell is another early sign of Parkinson’s, which can be present a long time before there are any other symptoms. This could be a gradual reduction of this sense, or you may find that the change is more sudden.
Changes in mood and mental health
Along with the physical signs of Parkinson’s, changes in your mood or overall mental health are also indicators. You may find that you feel more depressed than usual, or have an increase in anxious feelings.
Coordination and balance
Feeling less well-coordinated, or off-balance, can point to Parkinson’s disease. Due to the nature of the disease, this can be mild at first, and result in slow and unsteady movements. Taking much longer to do everyday tasks could be a clear sign.
Struggling to bend or move as easily as usual is a strong sign of Parkinson’s. Feeling physically stiff and rigid is a notable symptom which can also cause some pain, as muscles do not relax as easily.
Changes to handwriting
One of the lesser known early signs of Parkinson’s disease is that handwriting may change. This is due to how Parkinson’s impacts your neurological processing. Writing may feel more challenging as your movements become slower and smaller – this can result in smaller handwriting, either uniformly or over the course of writing for any length of time.
As well as having less control over your outward movements, it is normal for those with Parkinson’s to begin experiencing weaker control of both bladder and bowels. While it is easy to simply link this with ageing, it is worth noting, especially if other signs are also present.
If you notice any of these signs, it’s worth having yourself or your relative assessed by a doctor. Parkinson’s disease cannot be cured, but a high quality of life can be achieved with medications and therapies, plus live-in care is available for those with more severe symptoms who wish to stay in familiar surroundings. Spotting these early signs can be very beneficial in achieving this, and in giving peace of mind to those with worrying symptoms.