Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative condition that usually affects people aged 60 and above. It can be challenging to adjust to, especially since there is no definite cure. It is critical to get an early diagnosis and commence prompt treatment for maximum benefits. What does one do to spot the early signs of Parkinson’s Disease symptoms?
Understanding Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s Disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative conditions in the world. It primarily damages the dopamine-producing neurons in a specific area of the brain called Substantia Nigra. The exact cause of Parkinson’s Disease is unknown, though it is usually a mix of genetic and environmental factors. Parkinson’s Disease has no cure, although treatment can go a long way in keeping the symptoms under control.
Symptoms to watch out for
Parkinson’s can look very different from one patient to another, and the initial symptoms are often very mild. For example, you may notice slight shaking in one hand, or some slight difficulty in doing up buttons, or eating with a spoon. Some of the tell-tale symptoms to keep an eye out for include:
- Problems with balance or an increased tendency to fall
- Unusual stiffness or tremors in the arms, legs, or trunk
- Slow movements
- Slurred speech
- Hoarse, softened voice
What to do if you spot Parkinson’s Disease symptoms
The first thing to remember if you observe one or more of the symptoms above is not to panic. There are several other causes that could be responsible, including simple old age. Visit a doctor straight away and describe your symptoms in detail – when they first started, how frequently they occur, and how severe they are.
If your doctor believes that you may have Parkinson’s after conducting a preliminary check, they will recommend you to a neurologist. The neurologist will check your muscle tone and balance, and assess your ability to move through exercises such as getting out of a chair without support. They may ask further questions, such as
- Whether you have trouble sleeping?
- Whether you notice changes in mood, temperament, and memory?
- Whether your sense of smell has worsened?
- Whether you noticed a reduction in your handwriting size?
- What medical conditions you have had in the past and what medication are you currently on?
They may then recommend a dose of dopamine to see how you respond. If your symptoms show considerable improvement, you are likely to have Parkinson’s Disease. The neurologist may also recommend you to a movement disorder specialist for further opinion.
What to do when you receive a Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis
Being told that you have a serious condition like Parkinson’s Disease is understandably hard. It is essential to remember, however, that now is the time for you to take control of your diagnosis so that you get the best Parkinson’s Disease treatment in Bangalore. Some tips to help with this are:
- Give yourself time to adjust: It is perfectly acceptable to take some time out before fully accepting the reality of Parkinson’s. You can use this time to research as much as possible about the condition and ask your doctor any questions you have. If you’re having trouble processing it emotionally, you can talk to a counselor or join a support group.
- Track your symptoms: As you commence your treatment, it’s crucial to pay attention to how your body is responding. Keep track of how often your symptoms flare up and what the triggers are; also keep note of the improvements after taking medication. If new symptoms crop up or if the treatment doesn’t seem to have any effects, inform your doctor immediately.
- Build a support network: Your loved ones will be your most valuable asset as you navigate this disease. Keep them included right from the get-go by telling them about your condition, and what support might be needed from them as the disease progresses. This is especially important for a partner or an adult child who may need to be your caregiver.
- Get active: Multiple studies have demonstrated the benefits of exercise for Parkinson’s patients. Try to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, including aerobic exercises and strength training.
- Keep your mind engaged: Just like any physical activity, mental engagement is key to overall health. Take up new hobbies and participate in social activities with your family and friends. It’s also a good idea to take up a new job or retain an old one, if possible, to continue having something concrete to occupy yourself with.
While it can be hard to live with Parkinson’s Disease, it doesn’t have to be something that defines you. Take the time you need to accept your diagnosis and care for yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Over time, you can build a fulfilling life for yourself.