Parkinson’s disease: Four signs that could indicate your risk of developing the condition

Parkinson’s disease: Four signs that could indicate your risk of developing the condition

Harry Styles' mum on her father having Parkinson's disease

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Parkinson’s disease is a progressive condition whereby the signals communicated between the brain and nervous system are disrupted. This causes a number of impairments, many of which relate to movement. The symptoms are often subtle at first but become quite pronounced as the condition advances. What are four early signs you may be at risk?

Tremors

Tremors have been characterised as a key sign of the disease.

Tremors involve a persistent twitching or shaking of the hands, legs or chin. The tremors may start gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor that may be in just one hand.

Tremors are common and may get worse over time.

Difficulty walking

A person’s walking pattern may subtly start to change.

A person may begin to walk a lot slower or drag their feet as they walk.

This is often referred to as a “shuffling gait.” There may also be a less of a swing in the arms when walking.

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Poor balance

Parkinson’s specifically targets nerve cells which reside deep within the brain. Basal ganglia nerves control balance and flexibility, so any damage to these nerves can impair a person’s balance.

Your GP will perform a test known as the pull test to assess a person’s balance and determine if it might be Parkinson’s disease.

Facial masking

Facial expressions involve subtle, complex muscle movements. If a person’s facial expression becomes more serious, depressed or mad looking it could be a symptom of Parkinson’s.

Facial masking is related to bradykinesia.

The facial muscles move more slowly or rigidly than usual, and people may also experience eyes blinking slower.

If you think you may have Parkinson’s, you should speak to your GP.

They can refer you to a Parkinson’s specialist if they think your symptoms need further investigation.

Parkinson’s should only be diagnosed after having a consultation with a specialist.

It’s not always easy to diagnose the condition.

So it’s important that you see a Parkinson’s specialist to get an accurate diagnosis and to consider the best treatment options.
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