You should see your GP if you’re concerned you may have symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. As well as having an impact on movement, there are several other symptoms and signs you may notice. For example, some people with Parkinson’s will have slight memory problems and may also experience depression and anxiety. It’s thought around one in 500 people are affected by Parkinson’s disease, with men being slightly more likely to get Parkinson’s disease than women.
The NHS notes: “A person with Parkinson’s disease can also experience a wide range of other physical and psychological symptoms.”
These may include balance problems which may increase the chances of a fall, loss of sense of smell and problems sleeping.
Symptoms often begin on one side of the body or even in one limb on one side of the body.
“Many people with Parkinson’s note that prior to experiencing stiffness and tremor, they had sleep problems, constipation, decreased ability to smell, and restless legs,” according to the National Institute on Ageing.
The organisation adds: “Sometimes people dismiss early symptoms of Parkinson’s as the effects of normal ageing.”
Although there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, early diagnosis is important so patients can receive the proper treatment and advice regarding care.
The NHS notes: “Most people with Parkinson’s start to develop symptoms when they’re over 50, although around one in 20 people with the condition first experience symptoms when they’re under 40.”
Researchers do not yet know exactly why people get Parkinson’s, but it is thought that a combination of age, genetic and environmental factors cause the dopamine-producing nerve cells to die.
Parkinson’s UK says that around 145,000 people live with Parkinson’s in the UK, and that it is “the fastest growing neurological condition in the world”.
It explains that Parkinson’s develops when cells in the brain stop working properly and are lost over time. These brain cells produce a chemical called dopamine.
“Symptoms start to appear when the brain can’t make enough dopamine to control movement properly,” the charity says.
There are many different therapies and factors that can help in managing the condition, the NHS says.
Indeed, you may not need any treatment during the early stages of Parkinson’s disease as symptoms are usually mild.
Doing 2.5 hours of exercise a week can slow the progression of your symptoms, according to Parkinson’s UK.
It adds: “Medication can be used to improve the main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as shaking (tremors) and movement problems.
“But not all the medications available are useful for everyone, and the short- and long-term effects of each are different.”