Parkinson’s disease affects around one million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health. Michael J. Fox, who is now 61 years old, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 29 and established the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s disease research in 2000. “The attention that Michael has brought to Parkinson’s research has really sparked a revolution,” said the foundation’s president, Todd Sherer. “Pharmaceutical firms are more focused than ever on developing therapies quickly and curing PD is now job one for some of the best neuroscientists.” Here are five indicators of Parkinson’s disease, according to specialists.
1 — Tremors
Tremors are a typical symptom of Parkinson’s, but experts advise getting a comprehensive examination to rule out any additional problems. “See an expert neurologist who specializes in movement disorders and can appropriately diagnose, evaluate, and treat tremors,” advises neurologist Zoltan Mari. “Eliminating factors that may induce abnormal physiological tremor, like high thyroid hormone levels, might be part of it. Thyroid function tests should be sent to the laboratory.”
2 — Slowness of Movement
Another frequent symptom of Parkinson’s is slowness in some areas of movement, also known as bradykinesia. “A US study conducted with a wrist-worn device that monitors bodily movements found that 85 percent of individuals living with Parkinson’s disease experienced bradykinesia — abnormally slowed motor functions,” according to Steve Bryson, PhD.
3 — Rigidity
Those with Parkinson’s frequently experience painful muscle stiffness. “Stiffness or Rigidity, is one of the most prevalent signs of Parkinson’s disease,” explains Rachel Dolhun, a movement disorders expert at The Michael J. Fox Foundation.
4 — Changes In Gait
According to specialists, changes in gait may be an early symptom of Parkinson’s disease. “Changes in gait and cognitive function precede the diagnosis of idiopathic (unknown cause) Parkinson’s disease, and they can appear earlier than non-motor symptoms,” Catarina Silva, MSc., explains. “Evaluating individuals during the prodromal (early) phase before motor symptoms occur might help clinical trials looking for new treatments to delay or prevent disease progression.”
5 — Signs of Aging In the Eyes
Signs of aging in the retina, according to research, might be linked to a higher chance of getting Parkinson’s disease. “People with Parkinson’s disease (PD) have a variety of visual impairments, including changes in color vision, contrast sensitivity, and motion and object processing deficits,” says Nicolás Cuenca, PhD. “We evaluated retinas from PD patients to look for molecular and morphological abnormalities in order to discover biomarkers that might be used as predictors.”