ZocdocAnswersWhat are the early signs of Parkinson's disease?

Question

What are the early signs of Parkinson's disease?

How can you catch Parkinson's in its early stages. I might just be paranoid but I don't want to have that disease. Sometimes my hand shakes and I think it is Parkinson's. Can a doctor test me for it?

Answer

Parkinson's disease is a common condition, especially in the elderly. However, about 10% of patients are diagnosed with Parkinson's disease before the age of 40. There are about 50,000 Americans diagnosed with Parkinson's disease each year. It is thought to be partially inherited and affects men more than women. The classic symptoms of Parkinson's disease include muscle stiffness or rigidity, a clog-wheel tremor, changes in a person's walking pattern and posture (i.e., a wider gait and slower, wider turn). A person with Parkinson's disease will also develop changes in their speech and handwriting, poor balance, bradykinesia or overall slowing down of all movement, and the gradual loss of spontaneous activity. It is visible on patient's facial expression: almost emotionless. That being said, it is difficult to diagnose this disease early on because symptoms develop over a long period of time and there are not currently any lab test available. As you are having a tremor or shake all by itself, it might just be essential tremor. But if it progresses or if you've developed other accompanied symptoms, I would recommend you to follow up with a primary care provider who can examine and monitor your condition in order to catch it in its early stage. Your doctor may refer you to a neurologist for additional testing or imaging.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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