Symptoms of Early Onset Parkinson's Disease

Written by jay goldsworthy
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Parkinson's disease is a neurological disorder that inhibits the brain's ability to communicate with the rest of the body. The brain sends messages to the muscles and limbs, but the "directions" get muddled, and the patient's movements become awkward and uncoordinated. As of 2009, there is no cure for Parkinson's, but early symptoms can be identified and treatment started.

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Tremors

Tremors are the most common symptom of Parkinson's disease. They often begin in specific parts of the body, such as a finger, a hand or the lips. Tremors tend to occur when the body part is at rest or held in an unsupported position.

"Mask Face"

Another early symptom of the disease is a lack of control over the facial muscles. This can create a "mask face" in which the patient cannot smile or form other expressions. The patient may also involuntarily engage in excessive staring.

Akinesia

Akinesia is the medical term for muscle rigidity. Among Parkinson's patients, the stiffness is usually first noticed in the legs and neck before advancing to other muscles throughout the body.

Digestion

Parkinson's also affects the pace at which the body processes and metabolises food. The speed of digestion decreases, and the person begins to feel fatigued and suffers from constipation.

Handwriting

The disease can affect the way a patient moves his hand. Changes in the appearance of one's handwriting---including the shift from normal-sized to tiny, cramped letters---may signal the onset of Parkinson's.

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