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The Early Signs of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease can be very difficult to diagnose because its symptoms mimic those of other illnesses. However, there are some early warning signs (that generally surface between the ages of 50 and 60) that are more typical of Parkinson’s, and warrant additional attention.  Home Care Assistance of Harrisburg, PA recommends talking with your aging loved one’s doctor if one or more of these symptoms are present.

  1. Tremors – This is often considered the classic sign of Parkinson’s disease and may include shaking in the limbs, fingers, hands, or face. Often, tremors are experienced in a resting stage, meaning the affected body part will tremble when it’s not performing an action. Some of the most common tremors include the fingers on the hand trembling when folded in one’s lap or one’s arm trebling when it’s resting at the body’s side.
  1. Sudden Handwriting Change – Is your loved one suddenly writing much smaller than usual? While handwriting can change with the normal symptoms of aging (such as stiffness), a dramatic change which often includes letters becoming small and cramped can signify early stage Parkinson’s.
  1. Slowed Movement – Some people with Parkinson’s have trouble getting up or walking. You may notice a much slower or shorter gait or a tendency to drag the feet. Again, while some change in mobility is a normal part of aging, a more sudden change is notable.
  1. Rigid, Stiff Muscles – If your loved one complains of muscle aches and pains (particularly in the arms), it could be a sign of early Parkinson’s. These muscle aches and pains are often caused by uncontrolled tensing in the muscles which leaves your loved one unable to move about freely. When he or she tries, discomfort or aching ensues.
  1. Loss of Sense of Smell – Does your family member complain of difficulty smelling certain foods? If he or she seems to have a diminished sense of smell and a cold or stuffy nose is not present, it could be cause for concern. Also pay attention to their eating habits. Smell impacts how we taste things, meaning your loved one may no longer find some of their all-time favorite meals appetizing.
  1. Impaired Posture and Balance – This means that your loved one has trouble standing up straight and may appear stooped, or has trouble maintaining stable balance and is in danger of falling.
  1. Weakness of Facial Muscles – You might notice that your family member’s face has a drooping appearance, or that he or she is drooling, has trouble chewing, and might have difficulty talking or changing facial expressions.

If you believe that your aging parent or loved one is exhibiting the early signs of Parkinson’s disease, it’s important to speak with a doctor to ensure that proper treatment is provided if there is a diagnosis. Doctors will be able to make recommendations for medications to help manage symptoms, as well as support services such as part-time care in Harrisburg, which can help seniors to maintain their regular routines and independence.

Interested in learning more about Harrisburg Parkinson’s care? Reach out to Home Care Assistance and ask about our professional and highly trained Parkinson’s caregivers, flexible hourly and live-in care schedules and 100% satisfaction guarantee. Call (717) 540-4663 to speak with a friendly Care Manager today.