5 Early Signs of Parkinson's Disease

When it comes to diagnosis, Parkinson's disease has no definite process. Currently, there is not a blood or laboratory test capable of diagnosing an individual. Instead, two things are used: a person's medical history and a person's neurological signs and symptoms. Understanding the early signs of Parkinson's disease can help you or your loved one gain access to the care they deserve and need much more quickly. 

Five Early Signs of Parkinson's Disease

In order to help people reach an appropriate diagnosis and receive suitable Parkinson's care, the National Parkinson Foundation shared some of the most common early warning signs of Parkinson's disease. Paying attention to the following signs could help you consider talking with a health care professional about the possibility of your having Parkinson's disease. 

1. Twitching or Shaking

Slight shaking can occur in one's hands, face, or limbs. Tremors throughout the limbs are common early symptom of Parkinson's disease. However, shaking can also come from injury, exercise, or medication. 

Early signs of Parkinson's

2. Small Handwriting

If your handwriting suddenly changes, where larger, more spacious print is now smaller and closer together, this could indicate Parkinson's disease. While it's perfectly normal for someone's handwriting to change throughout life, it's the sudden change you want to look out for.
Early signs of Parkinson's

3. Loss of Sense of Smell

Assess your ability to smell fragrant foods like bananas, dill pickles, and licorice. If the scents no longer register, your sense of smell may be degenerating. Anyone's sense of smell might fluctuate during times of illness, but it comes back once the illness passes. 

Early signs of Parkinson's

4. Difficulty Sleeping

When you're unable to get restful sleep, it's usually a sign of some greater problem. When it comes to diagnosing Parkinson's disease, a doctor will look for thrashing, kicking, and other sudden movements during the sleep cycle. Don't be alarmed if it's a night or two of tossing and turning, but if it becomes a consistent occurrence, you may want to speak with your doctor.
Early signs of Parkinson's

5. Difficulty Moving or Walking

Stiffness throughout the body and its extremities that will not go away with movement can be a sign of Parkinson's disease. The stiffness can present itself through pain in the shoulder or hips or by keeping your arms from swinging when you walk. The stiffness you experience could also stem from an existing injury or arthritis. 

Early signs of Parkinson's


Parkinson's Care and Diagnosis

The early signs of Parkinson's disease can be few and far between, and it can be especially difficult to notice symptoms if they occur sporadically. If you or your loved one experience more than one of the symptoms on this list, it might be time to see a doctor. Since no definitive test for diagnosis exists, the majority of doctors approach diagnosis through a "process of elimination."

They will most likely test for diseases that can be clinically proven in an effort to rule out Parkinson's disease. It is important to receive a diagnosis so those with the disease can begin receiving appropriate Parkinson's care. 

We have several communities at Walker Methodist that are Struthers Parkinson's Care Network partners. They include:

Regardless of the specific care you or your loved one require, there is a Walker Methodist community that can meet your needs and provide you with opportunities to enjoy life to the fullest.

30 Questions to ask on your senior living community tour Download free guide

Topics: Care and Programs

Candace Rovang

Written by Candace Rovang

Candace joined the Walker Methodist family in 2014.On a day-to-day business, Candace focuses on families and quality assurance - most particularly in Highview Hills Care Suites and Memory Care neighborhoods. She takes, solves, and responds to resident and family concerns as well as coaches, mentors, and supports Walker Methodist staff. Some of this process is through Memory Care training, but also on a one-to-one basis. At this community, Candace also oversees the Aromatherapy and Music and Memory programs and is the champion for the Struthers Parkinson's Network. Candace is extremely passionate about working with the Alzheimer's Association, particularly getting people together to understand the important of education and support. Candace chose healthcare because she knew she needed to work in a field that was about more than just money. Once she got in to it, she realized that Walker Methodist was the only place that she could leave at the end of the day and name something she did to support others. The ability to give back daily and Walker Methodist's mission is why she is passionate about her work.

Contact Us
Schedule A Tour