Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that primarily affects the nervous system, particularly the brain.
Specifically, the disease attacks neurons in a region called the substantia nigra. These neurons produce a vital chemical known as dopamine, which plays an instrumental role in the coordination of movements. Their reduction leads to impaired body movements.
Parkinson’s is chronic and progressive. That means it worsens over time. However, therapies can significantly alleviate sufferers’ symptoms and improve their quality of life.
The Causes of Parkinson’s Disease
The causes of Parkinson’s disease are still not entirely understood.
Several factors may contribute, including both environmental and genetic factors.
Having a close relative with Parkinson’s or being exposed to certain toxins, therefore, could increase your risk of developing the disease.
However, it is important to remember that while such factors increase the risk, they do not guarantee you will develop Parkinson’s disease.
When it comes to toxins that could increase the risk of developing the disease, you should avoid ones, such as farming herbicides, that are known to have a potential connection to the onset of Parkinson’s.
For example, Paraquat is a herbicide widely used in the United States. But it is actually banned in more than fifty countries around the world. Recent discoveries suggest Paraquat can cause Parkinson’s disease.
Many people who have developed Parkinson’s and other health problems after using Paraquat are now filing Paraquat lawsuits, with the help of mass tort lawyers, to pursue compensation from some of the manufacturers of the herbicide.
Now you are aware of the potential causes of Parkinson’s, let us take a look at eight early symptoms that could be signs you are developing the disease.
1. Tremors and Shaking
One of the most common early signs of Parkinson’s is a slight tremor or shaking in your hand or foot. You might notice this when you are resting, and it could be more apparent during periods of stress or fatigue.
2. Slowed Movements
With Parkinson’s, your strides might become shorter and your tasks could take longer to complete. It is a subtle change often observed by others around you before you recognize it yourself.
3. Rigid Muscles
Another possible hint of Parkinson’s disease is stiffness in any part of your body. Your muscles may resist movement, making routine tasks feel more laborious. Increased muscle tension can also cause discomfort and affect your range of motion.
4. Impaired Posture and Balance
As the disease takes a toll on brain functions controlling balance, the initial signs can manifest in posture changes like stooping or leaning forward. An impaired balance may not come early but becomes noticeable as the disease progresses.
5. Loss of Automatic Movement
This symptom might manifest as decreased facial expression, less frequent blinking, or neglect in swinging your arms when you walk. Moreover, your ability to perform unconscious movements may decrease, which often goes unnoticed until someone points it out.
6. Speech Changes
Early on in the development of Parkinson’s disease, you may begin to speak softly or quickly. You might also notice hesitation before speaking or more of a monotone voice than usual.
These symptoms might be overlooked as aging signs but they could be markers of the developing disorder.
7. Writing Changes
Another tell-tale sign could be found in simple daily actions like writing. Handwriting might appear much smaller than before, and the words may seem tightly packed together. This particular symptom, known as micrographia, is commonly associated with Parkinson’s disease.
8. Sleep Problems
Lastly, sleep disruption is quite common among people with Parkinson’s disease. They often find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. Furthermore, sudden movements during sleep could be a warning of early-stage Parkinson’s.