Even though nearly one million individuals are living with Parkinson’s disease within the United States alone, the condition was perhaps first brought to the foreground after the diagnosis of Michael J. Fox. Since then, his foundation has funded breakthroughs in research and awareness, which were previously unparalleled, giving us hope for a future cure.
In the meantime, it is important to know the warning signs of Parkinson’s in order to receive a timely diagnosis and the earliest possible treatment and intervention. Anthem Home Care, a top provider of elderly care in Corpus Christi, Texas and the surrounding areas, has the information you need.
What Is Parkinson’s?
Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that impacts an individual’s balance, coordination, and movement through tremors and progressive muscle stiffness and rigidity. Although the precise cause is unknown, researchers think that contributing factors are both genetic and environmental. It typically impacts adults ages 60 and older, but early onset Parkinson’s can develop before age 50. Additionally, researchers know that men are diagnosed two times as often as women.
In addition to stiffness and trembling, Parkinson’s can also cause changes in emotion, such as depression, issues with eating and speaking, sleeping pattern changes, skin problems, and others.
The Early Warning Signs of Parkinson’s
In the very early stages associated with the disease, there are a number of red flags that can be detected, such as:
- Changes in handwriting. Specifically, an individual with Parkinson’s will begin to write much smaller, and with letters and words crowded together. This condition is referred to as micrographia.
- Changes in smell. Loss of smell is common in early Parkinson’s, especially in foods like bananas, dill pickles, and licorice.
- Changes in speaking. A softer or hoarse tone of voice often accompanies Parkinson’s, yet it is not always recognizable to the person with the condition. He or she may suspect hearing loss in others as a reason for not clearly understanding what the individual has said.
- Changes in facial expression. Facial masking, the term for a person who seems to always have a serious or depressed facial expression, is common in Parkinson’s.
- Changes in posture. Watch for a leaning or stooped posture when standing, along with a stiffness in the arms and legs when the individual is walking. One quick method to assess this is by observing if the individual’s arms swing naturally when walking. She or he may have a tendency to lean forward.
- Changes in sleeping. An individual with Parkinson’s may flail his or her legs and arms and make other sudden movements while asleep. These movements can be disturbing to a sleeping partner, who may seek alternative sleeping arrangements.
If you observe any of these changes in a senior you love, as well as the hallmark signs of tremors and rigidity, contact his/her physician as soon as possible for a complete evaluation. Then contact Anthem Home Care for further resources pertaining to Parkinson’s and in-home supportive services in order to make life safer and significantly more comfortable throughout the progression of the disease. You can email or call us any time at 361-643-2323 to find out more about our award-winning elderly care in Corpus Christi and nearby areas, and to arrange for a free in-home consultation.