Tremors, muscle stiffness and slowness of movement are all common early symptoms of Parkinson’s – but there are also other signs to be aware of. Symptoms that may be noticeable one day may not be a problem the next. The order in which they appear and the way symptoms progress also varies between people.
Although there’s currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, treatments are available to help reduce the main symptoms.
One of the key signs to be aware of, can occur before motor symptoms.
A recently published study says: “As the most frequent and earliest type of psychotic phenomenon in Parkinson’s disease, minor hallucination can occur before the onset of motor symptoms.”
It adds: “This sensation may be an early predictor of severe psychotic and cognitive states and is often overlooked in clinics.”
Findings were published in Behavioural Neurology. Researchers emphasised the prevalence of psychotic symptoms, which they said are not always fully considered as key characteristics of the condition.
Minor hallucinations were found to be the most common psychotic symptom in patients with Parkinson disease, in which those affected reported reduced health-related quality of life and greater sleep symptom burden.
Hallucinations can affect all of your senses. A hallucination is when you see, hear, feel, smell or even taste something that isn’t actually real.
The most frequent minor hallucination was visual illusion, especially object misidentification.
Parkinson’s UK says: “Some people with Parkinson’s may experience hallucinations or delusions.
“They usually happen as a side effect of your Parkinson’s medication. But in some cases they may be a symptom of your Parkinson’s, or another condition, such as dementia.”
It also notes that older people are more likely to experience urinary or chest infections, which can cause hallucinations.
“If you are an older person with Parkinson’s it is important to be aware of this and get medical advice as soon as possible,” the charity suggests.
There are some ways you can manage your Parkinson’s symptoms.
Doing 2.5 hours of exercise a week can slow the progression of your symptoms, according to the charity.
It adds: “Exercise can be as important as your medication to help you take control and manage your symptoms.”
That said, medication is considered to be the main way to manage symptoms.