Actor Michael J. Fox, country superstar Johnny Cash, singer-composer Maurice White, singer Linda Ronstadt and now boxing legend Muhammad Ali are among the famous faces with Parkinson’s disease.
But what is Parkinson’s disease?
According to Mayo Clinic, a non-profit medical practice and medical research group based in Rochester, Minnesota, Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement.
It develops gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. A tremor may be the most well-known sign of the disease. It also causes stiffness or slowing of movement.
In the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, the face may show little or no expression, or your arms may not swing when you walk.
The speech may become soft or slurred. Parkinson’s disease symptoms get worse as your condition progresses over time.
There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. But medications may markedly improve your symptoms. In some cases, the doctor may suggest surgery to regulate certain regions of your brain and improve your symptoms.
Symptoms and signs off Parkinson’s disease may vary. Early signs may be mild and may go unnoticed. The symptoms often start on one side of the body and usually remain worse on that side..
Signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s may include:
- Tremor – A tremor, or shaking, usually begins in a limb, often your hand or fingers.
- Slowed movement – Parkinson’s disease may reduce your ability to move and slow your movement, making simple tasks difficult and time-consuming. Your steps may become shorter when you walk, or you may find it difficult to get out of a chair. Also, you may drag your feet as you try to walk.
- Rigid muscles – Muscle stiffness may occur in any part of your body. The stiff muscles can limit your range of motion and cause you pain.
- Impaired posture and balance – Your posture may become stooped, or you may have balance problems due to Parkinson’s disease.
- Loss of automatic movements – In Parkinson’s disease, you may have a decreased ability to perform unconscious movements, including blinking, smiling or swinging your arms when you walk.
- Speech changes – You may have speech problems as a result of Parkinson’s disease. You may speak softly, quickly, slur or hesitate before talking.
- Writing changes – It may become hard to write, and your writing may appear small.