Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that slowly takes away a person’s ability to perform even the simplest tasks. It is caused by the brain’s inability to continue to produce the neurotransmitter dopamine. As a result, the body loses its ability to move.
There are warning signs, however, and if you notice any of the symptoms below in yourself or a loved one, please see your doctor as quickly as possible. Here are 10 things to be aware of, and may indicate you have Parkinson’s:
- A change in the size of your handwriting
- Loss of the sense of smell
- Difficulty sleeping
- A fixed facial expression
- Soft voice
- Shuffling gait
- Stooped posture
Scientists continue to study not only the causes of Parkinson’s and other related disorders such as multiple system atrophy, but also ways to track the progression. In a University of Florida study, it was determined that changes to the brain became visible in MRIs. The area of the brain that controls motor function appeared to change radically over time. This discovery is related to what is called a “biomarker,” and finding it has been somewhat of a Holy Grail quest for Parkinson’s disease researchers. The release of the study, which was published in Neurology magazine, may herald the dawn of new treatments. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
If you or a loved one has Parkinson’s and need help, contact the National Parkinson Foundation online.