How Does Parkinson’s Disease Begin? Let’s Discuss. Parkinson’s disease is a brain-related condition that produces unintentional or uncontrolled movements, including stiffness, shaking, and balance and coordination problems.
It is widely known as a movement disease that affects the nervous system of a human.
The symptoms appear slowly and may begin with a nearly imperceptible tremor in hand. The patient frequently experiences tremors, yet sometimes, there can also be muscle stiffness or slowed movement.
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Visible Symptoms – How Does Parkinson’s Disease Begin
The face of the patient might display an unnoticeable expression during the initial stages of Parkinson’s disease. Moreover, there might be other minor symptoms. For instance, a person’s arms might not swing when walking. The voice of the patient might get slurry as well. The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease grow as the disease advances.
The symptoms and signs of Parkinson’s disease are different for different patients in different cases. Early warnings might be subtle and go missed. Even though the symptoms are apparent, affecting both sides of the body, they generally begin on one side and worsen on that side initially.
Early Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease:
- Tremors usually start in one part of any limb, generally in the hand or finger.
- As the condition progresses, the person’s movement ability becomes slow, making basic chores complex and time-consuming.
- Sudden stiffness of muscles in any part of the body.
- One’s posture might become slumped, and one may experience balance issues.
- One might have a more challenging time doing unconscious actions like blinking or swinging arms when walking.
- Slow and softer voice, accompanied by slurred words or long pauses.
- It might become difficult to write, while one’s writing might seem minor as an early symptom.
Stages of Parkinson’s Disease
Since the disease has different signs in different patients, some might end up experiencing all of the common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Even if it is the case, they may not always occur with the same intensity or in the same order.
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Parkinson’s disease has a predictable progressive pattern that is divided into some stages, which are described as follows:
The person experiences moderate symptoms that have no interference with regular activities during the period of their symptoms showing. Just one side of the body starts to exhibit tremors and other movement-related signs. The posture, gait, and facial expressions of a person all start to change.
The symptoms of the disease eventually begin to worsen. Both sides of the person’s body are affected by tremors, stiffness, and similar movement abnormalities. The person may start to notice issues with their posture and walking. The individual can still live independently, yet everyday chores get complicated and time-consuming to complete.
Loss of balance and sluggish movements are the main symptoms experienced during this stage of the disease. The person starts to experience sudden tripping and falling. They might still not be dependent on help from someone, yet their symptoms make simple tasks like eating and dressing challenging to perform independently.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s during this stage start to become stronger and more restricting. While it might be easy for the person to stand without the need for help from someone, moving might necessitate the use of assistance or a walker. The patient starts needing assistance with everyday tasks at this point and is not able to live on their own independently.
This is the most severe and incapacitating stage of the disease. Stiff muscles in the legs can make making or standing a challenging task for the patient. The patient is restricted to a very less space of a wheelchair or, in severe cases, restricted to a bed. All of their activities need complete supervision.
The individual might start having delusions or hallucinations. The Parkinson’s community recognizes that non-motor symptoms are just as essential as motor symptoms in terms of this disease.
Theory of Parkinson’s Progression: Braak’s Hypothesis
According to the recent theory (a section of Braak’s hypothesis), the first symptoms of Parkinson’s disease appear in the enteric nervous system and some other brain parts responsible for controlling smell.
Data mainly support this view that non-motor symptoms, for example, loss of sense of smell (hyposmia), sleep disturbance, and constipation, can occur decades before the beginning of the motor symptoms caused by the disease.
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Therefore, researchers aim to focus on these non-motor symptoms to diagnose Parkinson’s disease during the initial stage and find strategies to slow or completely stop its development.