Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition that is caused by a decrease in the body’s level of dopamine. It can progress very slowly, and may not be diagnosed for many years after it begins. Because there is no definitive testing for the disease, physicians make diagnoses based on observing symptoms and reviewing the patient’s history. Therefore, knowing the early warning signs of Parkinson’s and if your aging loved one exhibited any symptoms in the past can help ensure proper diagnosis and treatment to promote a higher quality of life.
The North Houston Parkinson’s care specialists at Home Care Assistance offer information on some of the most common, and early signs of Parkinson’s disease.
- Tremors – Slight shaking or tremors are experienced by approximately 80 percent of patients who have Parkinson’s. They usually start in the fingers and progress to other areas of the body including the hands, chin, lips and tongue.
- Muscle Rigidity – Muscle tension that is experienced in joints such as the hip, wrist, knee and elbow, and is not caused by any other known factor, can be an early sign of the disease. Muscle rigidity can result in pain and decreased mobility, and it can also cause problems with constipation.
- Alteration in Walking – Older adults with Parkinson’s often lose the swinging motion of their arms that naturally occurs while walking, and their stride becomes shortened. They also shuffle instead of picking up their feet, and people may also experience difficulty in starting, stopping and turning when they walk.
- Masking – Facial expressions that appear unemotional are an early sign of the illness. Seniors may blink their eyes less often and appear to have a blank stare, and friends and family members may falsely perceive them as being upset or angry.
- Hypophonia – Hypophonia, or an abnormally quiet voice, is a symptom that is often seen in early Parkinson’s. Patients do not always realize that they are talking softly until a family member or friend points it out to them.
If you believe that your aging parent or loved one may be exhibiting signs of Parkinson’s disease, it’s important to schedule an appointment with his or her physician so that the appropriate tests can be run. Early detection of the disease offers the best chance for symptom management and thus, enhanced quality of life.
For more information about Parkinson’s home care in North Houston, reach out to Home Care Assistance today. Whether North Houston hourly home care is required in the early stages of the disease or 24 hour care is needed for around the clock monitoring and support, we tailor every plan of care to meet the individual needs of each client. To request a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with a friendly Care Manager, call 832-412-1345.