Each year, over 60,000 new cases of Parkinson’s disease (PD) are reported in the US alone. Worldwide, it’s estimated that over 10 million people live with the condition. The number is believed to be higher, given that some cases remain undetected.
Parkinson’s disease is a condition that results from progressive damage to a specific part of the brain called the substantia nigra. It occurs when dopamine producing neurons slowly die out. Dopamine is an important chemical that’s involved in the transmission of messages between the brain and the muscles. People suffering from Parkinson’s will therefore gradually lose their motor skills in a small or large part of the body.
What causes the disease largely remains unknown. However, researchers believe that the condition is more likely to be caused by a number of factors. Genetics is one of the main causing factors. It has been found that people coming from a family with a history of Parkinson’s are more likely to develop the condition. Age is another factor. The disease is common in people over the age of 65. However, about 20% of new cases occurs in people below the age of 50. Another causing factor is cell burnout. According to a recent study, Parkinson’s disease results when brain cells exhaust their energy supply and die out. Some of the other factors that are believed to increase chances of developing the disease include gender and exposure to toxins.
Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to ensuring that you manage to live a better life. It’s therefore vital that you understand some of the early warning signs of the disease.
10. Small handwriting
Normally, you will have a specific writing style. The letters are shaped in a particular way and within a certain size range. That’s what makes your handwriting unique. However, if you’re suddenly writing smaller letters, or start with your normal handwriting and find that the letters keep getting smaller. It’s a sign that you might be at the early stages of PD. Another early sign is when your writing starts getting squeezed together.
It’s quite normal to have a slight tremor in the muscles after a workout. If it happens involuntarily when you’re relaxing, it could be a signal about the onset of Parkinson’s disease. The brain coordinates voluntary muscle movements. Involuntary tremors that occur on a specific part of the body such as chin, lips or limbs could be a sign that the brain cells responsible for moving the specific part aren’t working properly. The tremors will usually become more severe as the disease progresses.