Parkinson’s can fell the giant, can silent the most eloquent speaker and make a dancer stumble. The sufferer becomes frustrated with the inability to move, speak or swallow and they become as a prisoner in a body that fails to respond to the commands of the brain. This description of a person with Parkinson’s disease is all too true. The symptoms of the disease may sneak up on you at first, mild and meek almost undetectable. Unfortunately the disease is a progressive one and the symptoms will never go away. At present there is no cure for this chronic disease. Common symptoms are tremors, bradykinesia, akinesia, digestive problems, depression, low blood pressure, temperature sensitivity, and leg discomfort and balance issues.
Tremors are one of the first symptoms to be noticed when an individual has Parkinson’s. The tremors may be in one finger of a hand or they may be an arm that twitches. Eventually the tremors will progress to envelop the entire hand and then arm until the tremors occur when the entire limb is at rest or when the limb is in an unsupported position. A person can also get tremors in other places such as the tongue, feet or lips.
Do you know what bradykinesia and akinesia are?
Bradykinesia occurs when a person’s movements slow down and become increasingly slower over time until the muscles just seem to “freeze” from time to time. Akinesia is simply muscle rigidity. The muscle rigidity can occur in the neck or in the legs and feels as if the muscles are going stiff. When akinesia occurs in the muscles of the face the person appears as if they are wearing a mask, not moving and appearing to be emotionless.
All the muscular movements slow down including the muscles that aid digestion. This causes low energy and constipation.
Depression is a symptom of many diseases especially those like Parkinson’s that are chronic. There are chemical changes that occur in the brain of the person suffering from Parkinson’s that causes the depression. Often depression is a sign that too many associate with old age and therefore people just do not pay enough attention when an older person becomes depressed – they fail to recognize that depression can be a serious indicator of a disease such as Parkinson’s.
When a person with Parkinson’s develops low blood pressure they can develop light-headedness and fainting, which can result in falls.
Individuals with Parkinson’s can have hot flashes or experience excessive sweating as a result of irregularity in the perception of temperature.
Individuals with Parkinson’s have reported burning sensations or cramping in the legs.
One of the progressive symptoms that are perhaps the most noticeable is that of balance. As the balance becomes more affected there is a loss of coordination or sense of balance and this symptoms can put the individual at grave risk for injury from falls.
A person who has had Parkinson’s disease for a while take on familiar characteristics one with another such as the continual tremor, the stooped posture, the blank stare and slow shuffle when they walk.
The symptoms can be managed with the proper medication and physical and occupational therapy.