April is National Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month and we want to bring attention to a disease that is literally life changing when you are diagnosed. There is currently no cure for PD.
Parkinson’s Disease Awareness
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic disease that progresses with time. It affects the brain and is considered a degenerative neurological disease.
8 early signs of possible Parkinson’s disease
- Shaking or Tremors – One of the earliest signs of Parkinson’s disease, shaking or tremors are a common symptom that most people who have the disease will experience. Twitching, shaking, and tremors in your body (legs, hands, fingers, chin, lips, feet, etc.) while at rest can be a common sign of the disease.
- Sleep Changes – Inability to sleep to lack of solid sleep could be one of the first signs; along with sudden movements or jerking of your body.
- Handwriting Changes -Suddenly writing smaller and less legible can be a sign of PD.
- Constipation – Constipation and straining to have a BM is common among those with PD.
- Hunching Over – It may have become noticeable that you are stooped or hunching over, especially when moving.
- Small Motor Skills – PD can often cause your small motor skills to become affected; especially noticeable when writing, trying to pick up smaller items, etc.
- Frozen/Mask Face – Appearing as having no signs of emotion, almost as though you have a mask on or are always depressed or too serious is considered “Mask Face.”
- Changed Tone of Speech – People may be asking you to repeat yourself or telling you that you are talking low, speak up. Sometimes those with PD will sound much quieter or even hoarse.
Please remember that simply having one of these symptoms does not mean you have the disease; only a doctor can diagnose you. These symptoms, when combined, can help determine Parkinson’s.
What if I’m Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease?
- Talk with your Doctor – Always talk with your doctor if you suspect you could have PD.
- Your PD Team – Parkinson’s disease often requires the cooperation of a team of health professionals. This can include your physician, a neurologist, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist and others.
- Exercise – Keeping active and moving is the best way to combat the symptoms of PD.
- Treatments – There is no “standard of treatment” but there are a number of treatments available that include pharmaceutical and complimentary treatments.
Caregiving for Someone with Parkinson’s Disease
It’s important that you understand PD fully and understand that there will be stages of the Parkinson’s as it progresses. The most important part is to find help in caregiving for your loved one, especially in the late stages. Here are some helpful tips.
Parkinson’s disease awareness month is designed to help you understand and learn how to live a quality life with the help of others and a time to let you know that we are always here to help.
Photo: ” …The Parkinson’s Disease Society” on Flikr by Montage Communications