Parkinson’s Disease is a chronic an on-going disorder that effects parts of the brain. It was originally named after the doctor who first described it, James Parkinson. This disease affects the way your brain co-ordinates movements to the muscles and various parts of the body.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) symptoms
Three of the most common symptoms that gradually develop are:
- Slow movement (bradykinesia). For example, it may become very difficult to simple get up out of a chair or walk a down a hallway. When symptoms first develop you may mistake it as just getting older. After awhile, a typical walking pattern often develops, you will begin to ‘shuffle’ as you walk and stopping and turning will become harder.
- Increased stiffness in the muscles and tense muscles.
- Uncontrollable shaking is common, but does not always occur. Typically your fingers, thumbs, hands and arms are affected but other parts of the body can shake as well. It is most noticeable when you are resting.
The symptoms tend slowly to become worse over time. However, this varies from person to person, some people may develop severe symptoms faster than others. It may take several years before the body becomes bad enough to have a major effect on your life.
Some other symptoms may develop:
- Fewer facial expressions such as smiling or frowning.
- Reduced blinking.
- Difficulty with fine movements such as tying your shoes or zipping your coat.
- Difficulty writing.
- Difficulty with balance.
- Increase chances of falling.
- Speech may become slower.
- Difficult time swallowing.
- Feeling tiredness very often.
- Chronic aches and pains.
Other possible symptoms also include:
- Bladder problems.
- Sexual disfunction.
- Problems with your sense of smell.
- Difficulties with sleeping.
- Weight loss.
How is Parkinson’s disease diagnosed?
To this day there is no true test that can diagnose Parkinson’s. The typical diagnosis is based on whether or not you suffer from the above symptoms. In the early stage of the disease, when symptoms are mild, your doctor may have a difficult time diagnosing your disease. But, as your symptoms become worse other time, your doctor’s diagnosis will often become more clear.
Physical Therapists can not diagnose this for you, this diagnosis must come from your primary healthcare provider.
How we can help:
- Physical Therapy can assist in maintaining good posture, walking and exercises.
- We can advise on several home adaptations which may ease difficult tasks.