Around five million people around the world suffer from Parkinson’s disease. In America alone, the number is around 1 million people. The disease generally occurs in people who are around sixty or older. Some sufferers can lead an extended and productive life while others degenerate more quickly.
The most fundamental of Parkinson’s disease symptoms affects both voluntary and involuntary functions and begins on one side of the body. The symptoms may be mild and subtle at first, and then gain momentum, turning aggressive and fully manifested. The top five symptoms to watch out for are:
1. Tremors. Tremors extend themselves to multiple body parts including the hands, fingers, jaws, legs, feet, head, and neck. The states of these tremors vary according to the level of stress or excitement that the person is under. They disappear with voluntary movement and sleep.
2. Stiffness. The second most well-known symptom of Parkinson’s is rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk, increasing with the individual’s movement and locomotion. The stiffness can give rise to muscle pain and muscle cramps. The restriction of fine and relaxed muscle movements can prevent normal functioning like handwriting (micrographia) and eating.
3. Slow movements. This symptom of Parkinson’s disease is also known as Bradykinesia. The individual, with the progression of the disease, finds it difficult to begin a particular motion and conclude the same movement. This symptom of Parkinson’s can also cause a lack of facial expression.
4. Instability. This affects the posture of individuals. They may have impaired reflexes and cannot remain balanced in one fixed position. The "Parkinson’s gait" is a distinctive walk in a shuffling and stooped manner.
5. Secondary symptoms. The most common secondary symptoms of Parkinson's are constipation, difficulty in swallowing, and depression. Additional Parkinson’s disease symptoms include excessive sweating and excessive salivation. Dementia, or loss of intellectual capabilities, occurs in the last stage of the disease’s progression.
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