Parkinson’s Disease is sometimes difficult in the early stages to diagnose. For example, many of the motor, cognitive and speech patterns inherent in Parkinson’s are similar to other conditions, many associated with the aging process. Compounding the difficulty in diagnosis is the fact that there isn’t a simple test to determine if a patient is suffering from this disease. A physician or neurologist will have to compile a history that correctly identifies certain symptoms such as tremor, rigidity, awkward gait and diminished motor abilities in order to make a diagnosis. Early symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease include these motor changes as well as changes in speech as sometimes cognitive ability.
Early symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease start showing up in abilities, but also in the affect of the patient. For example, facial expressions may become frozen or fixed, the patient may start drooling, make odd expressions, or they may not be able to blink. At this time a patient exhibiting early symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease may also develop a tremor. In the beginning these tremor may be limited to one side of the body. The tremor may be more pronounced when the limb is at rest. The arm may also fail to swing in the process of walking and hang straight at the side of the body.
Patients with early symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease may also experience a reduction of the sensation of feeling in the neck, face or limbs. This may also be accompanied by a tingling sensation. Often unexplained aches develop in these regions as well. Patients may also have the sensation of trembling and a loss of balance. As the disease progresses, these symptoms intensify. Speech may become difficult. The tone and quality of the words and voice altered perceptibly. For instance, the patient’s voice may become soft and speech slightly slurred. Other people’s voices take on a harsh quality and sound.
It is important to get the patient in for treatment promptly. Although there is no cure at this time for Parkinson’s, there are treatment options available that can prolong the quality of life for the patient and further, may delay severe symptoms.