How to identify Parkinson's symptoms in older people
The brain is the first place that Parkinson's disease begins. Some nerve cells die or become inactive. Dopamine levels in the brain begin to decrease. Your brain's dopamine levels drop, which can lead to abnormal behavior and impaired movement.
Parkinson's disease is a common condition that affects approximately 1% of older people and 5% for people over 85. It usually appears after the age 60.
We still have much to learn about Parkinson's. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure. Most of the treatments for Parkinson's only address the symptoms. It is not known what causes Parkinson's disease.
Scientists believe that certain toxins and genes may increase the risk of developing Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's disease can also be linked to the presence of certain proteins in the brain.
We know that Parkinson's is less common in younger people. If you have a relative with Parkinson's, your chances of getting it are higher. Also, men are more likely than women to develop it.
The symptoms of Parkinson's disease may seem subtle at first. They typically start on one side of the body and become more prominent on the other side, even if they spread to your entire body.
Parkinson's symptoms could include:
- One of your limbs (usually a hand) might begin to shake.
You might rub your thumb and pointer fingers together or shake your head even when you're relaxed.
- Slower movement.
You might notice a slowing or halting in your movement as your Parkinson's symptoms worsen. You might find it more difficult to complete normal tasks or taking longer than usual. It can be difficult to walk.
- Stiff muscles.
Stiffness in certain parts of the body could result. This can limit your movement and cause pain.
- Balance and posture problems.
It is possible to lose balance and have your back slopped.
- Speech problems.
Your voice might become more monotone, quieter, or quicker. It is possible to slur, pause or hesitate before speaking.
- Writing problems.
Writing can be affected by Parkinson's disease. This can affect your ability to quickly write and make your handwriting look less professional.
- Emotional problems.
People with Parkinson's may experience depression or other emotional changes.
- Difficulty swallowing.
It can become more difficult to swallow. Saliva buildup can cause drooling.
- Issues with bowel and urinary movement.
Some people have issues with their bladder or constipation.
- Sleep problems.
Parkinson's patients often have trouble sleeping and wake up at night.
- Eating difficulties and chewing problems.
Parkinson's disease can cause severe problems with eating and affect the mouth.
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