Parkinson’s disease early symptoms may be subtle, go unnoticed and develop gradually over a number of years. A person will often feel ‘out of sorts’ and unable to pinpoint what exactly is wrong with them. It is not uncommon at this stage, for a patient to visit their practitioner and be told that they probably have a virus, are run down or suffering from stress.
Parkinson’s disease early symptoms may include:
- Feeling ‘off-color’ or overly tired and worn out despite resting and sleeping.
- Fatigue lasts more than 2 weeks.
- Reduced sense of smell.
- Irritable or depressed for no apparent reason.
- Executive dysfunction: easily distracted and difficulty with making decisions.
- Losing track of a thought or word.
- Significant weight gain/midlife obesity when a person was in their 40’s and 50’s.
Should any of the above signs persist longer than one would reasonably expect e.g. fatigue and feeling unwell due to a virus, most practitioners would begin to investigate the situation in order to determine if there was a significant underlying cause.
The type, severity and rate that Parkinson’s disease symptoms develop varies significantly between individuals e.g. although tremor or shaking is a classic Parkinson’s symptom, some people never experience it or only at the later stages of the disease. Therefore, aside from the general signs noted above, Parkinson’s disease symptoms can be categorized as follows:
- 4 Cardinal signs: refers to the 4 major motor symptoms for diagnosis, namely:
- Slow Movements (Bradykinesia).
- Muscle Rigidity.
- Postural Instability/balance disturbances (usually later stages).
- Associated symptoms e.g. speech issues, urinary problems, skin problems.
- Neuropsychiatric dysfunction e.g. mood alterations, cognitive disturbances and in some cases dementia (usually later stages).
OVERVIEW OF PARKINSON’S DISEASE
The following points should be borne in mind regarding Parkinson’s disease symptoms:
- Although most people will have a number of signs, a person does not need to exhibit all of the symptoms to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
- Parkinson’s is usually unilateral (1 side) at the early stages progressing to bilateral (2 sides) as the condition worsens.
- Given that Parkinson’s symptoms are highly individual, a patient will need regular medical assessment and medication will need to be tailored to the individuals needs.
Finally, it must be remembered that various non-Parkinson’s conditions can present themselves as having similar symptoms to Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, if a person is concerned that they may have Parkinson’s disease early symptoms, they should always consult a qualified practitioner for a professional diagnosis.