One of the biggest myths surrounding Parkinson’s disease (PD) is that it is exclusively an old man’s (or woman’s) illness. PD is essentially a nerve-related disorder, which makes it more common among the elderly. It typically shows its symptoms when it has silently progressed over a decade or more. However, the reality is that Parkinson’s is not a natural part of aging.
In fact, among the one million Americans estimated to suffer from PD, about 2,500 cases are detected every year where the patient is below the age of 50. Medical science has yet to find a permanent cure for it. But when detected early, PD patients can learn to manage its symptoms and lead a more fulfilling life. Just keep a watch for these 10 signs, and protect yourself from advanced PD.
Body Tremors and Involuntary Shaking
This is perhaps the most visible yet subtle signs of PD. We say this because this symptom is often noticed only by the patient himself. Your body stays steady even as one tiny finger trembles; you suddenly notice your feet twitching on their own, even as the rest of your body is comfortably seated; you are watching TV – perhaps a comedy – and you are surprised by an unexpected shiver.
These tremors begin small and grow until they are visible to others. Body twitching can at times be attributed to stress, nervousness, and anxiety. But you should take special note of this for PD, if you begin to notice a pattern where parts of your body tremble, even during restful situations.
Reduced Sensitivity to Smell
We all lose a part of our sense of smell when we are down with a bad cold or have been hit by the flu. While these are relatively normal, our nostrils should be back to their eager sniffing ways once the cold or flu passes. But experts suggest that if you find yourself consistently becoming less sensitive to pungent odors – dill pickles, bananas, or even licorice – it could be a symptom to watch out for. Most PD patients even reflect that this loss of smell was one of their earliest warnings of PD. We say, forewarned is indeed forearmed!