It’s thought around 1 in 500 people are affected by Parkinson’s disease, according to the NHS. People with the condition can experience a range of different symptoms. Men are slightly more likely to get Parkinson’s disease than women, and most people with Parkinson’s start to develop symptoms when they’re over 50. There are several symptoms and signs to look out for.
Although there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, early diagnosis is important so that patients can receive the proper treatment and advice regarding care.
Symptoms often begin on one side of the body or even in one limb on one side of the body.
“Many people with Parkinson’s note that prior to experiencing stiffness and tremor, they had sleep problems, constipation, decreased ability to smell, and restless legs,” according to the National Institute on Ageing.
The organisation adds: “Sometimes people dismiss early symptoms of Parkinson’s as the effects of normal aging.”
The National Institute on Ageing has outlined several other possible early symptoms of the condition.
These include gastrointestinal difficulties, like constipation and slowed movement of food from the stomach into the intestines.
You might also notice a reduced sense of smell, also known as hyposmia, or sleep problems.
Another early sign is sexual dysfunction, as are depression or anxiety.
Early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease may be “subtle” and occur gradually, the organisation says.
Some people may feel mild tremors or have difficulty getting out of a chair.
They may notice that they speak too softly, or that their handwriting is slow and looks cramped or small.
People with Parkinson’s often develop a gait that includes a tendency to lean forward, the National Institute on Ageing adds.
Although there is currently no cure, there are many different therapies and factors that can help in managing the condition, the health body says.
For example, doing 2.5 hours of exercise a week can slow the progression of your symptoms, according to Parkinson’s UK.
Exercise can help you manage physical symptoms and other symptoms such as sleep problems, fatigue, mood and mental health, the charity says.
It adds: “Exercise can be as important as your medication to help you take control and manage your symptoms.”