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10 Early Warning Signs of Parkinson’s Disease

It can be hard to tell if you have Parkinson’s disease. Here are the 5 signs you might have the disease. No single one of these signs means that you should worry. But if you have more than one symptom you should make an appointment to talk to your doctor.

Tremor or Shaking. Have you noticed a slight shaking or tremor in your finger, thumb, hand, chin or lip? Does your leg shake when you sit down or relax? Twitching or shaking of limbs is a common early sign of Parkinson’s disease.
What is normal? Shaking can be normal after lots of exercise or if you have been injured. Shaking could also be caused by a medicine you take.


Small Handwriting. Has your handwriting suddenly gotten much smaller than in it was in the past? You may notice the way you write words on a page has changed, such as letter sizes are smaller and the words are crowded together. A sudden change in handwriting is often a sign of Parkinson’s disease.
What is normal? Sometimes writing can change as you get older, if you have stiff hands or fingers or poor vision, but this happens over time and not suddenly.


Loss of Smell. Have you noticed you no longer smell certain foods very well? If you seem to have more trouble smelling foods like bananas, dill pickles or licorice, you should ask your doctor about Parkinson’s disease.
What is normal? Your sense of smell can be changed by a cold, flu or a stuffy nose, but it should come back after you are better.


Trouble Sleeping. Do you thrash around in bed or kick and punch while you are deeply asleep? You might notice that you started falling out of bed while asleep. Sometimes, your spouse will notice, or will want to move to another bed. Sudden movements during sleep may be a sign of Parkinson’s disease.
What is normal? It is normal for everyone to have a night when they ‘toss and turn’ instead of sleeping.


Trouble Moving or Walking. Do you feel stiff in your body, arms or legs? Sometimes stiffness goes away as you move. If it does not, it can be a sign of Parkinson’s disease. You might notice that your arms don’t swing when you walk, or maybe other people have said you look stiff. An early sign might be stiffness or pain in your shoulder or hips. People sometimes say their feet seem ‘stuck to the floor.’
What is normal? If you have injured your arm or shoulder, you may not be able to use it as well until it is healed, or another illness like arthritis might cause the same symptom.

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