Parkinson's Disease: Signs, Symptoms and How To Make Life Easier

Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects your movement. It develops gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. But while tremor may be the most well-known sign of Parkinson's disease, the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement.

Parkinson's disease symptoms and signs may vary from person to person. Early signs may be mild and may go unnoticed. Symptoms often begin on one side of your body and usually remain worse on that side, even after symptoms begin to affect both sides. Parkinson's signs and symptoms may include:

  • Tremor
  • Slowed Movement
  • Rigid Muscles
  • Impaired Posture and Balance
  • Loss of Automatic Movements
  • Speech Changes
  • Writing Changes

How To Make It Easier

The following suggestions from the Mayo Clinic may make living with Parkinson’s easier.

Walking with Care

Parkinson's disease can disturb your sense of balance, making it difficult to walk with a normal gait. These suggestions may help:

  • Try not to move too quickly.
  • Aim for your heel to strike the floor first when you're walking.
  • If you notice yourself shuffling, stop and check your posture. It's best to stand up straight.
  • Look in front of you, not directly down, while walking.

Avoiding Falls

In the later stages of the disease, you may fall more easily. In fact, you may be thrown off balance by just a small push or bump. The following suggestions may help:

  • Don't pivot your body over your feet while turning. Instead, make a U-turn.
  • Don't lean or reach. Keep your center of gravity over your feet.
  • Don't carry things while you're walking.
  • Avoid walking backward.
  • Daily living activities

Daily living activities, such as dressing, eating, bathing and writing, can be difficult for people with Parkinson's disease. An occupational therapist can show you techniques that make daily life easier.

Although Parkinson's disease can't be cured, medications may markedly improve symptoms. In occasional cases, doctors may suggest surgery to regulate certain regions of the brain and improve symptoms.

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