Written By: Anysia Ensslen-Boggs, Ed.D., CCC-SLP
According to the Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS), a diagnosis of Parkinson’s is made when a person exhibits slowness of movement (bradykinesia) and one or more of the following:
- Shaking or tremor that occurs while at rest
- Stiffness and rigidity of the arms, legs, or trunk
- Trouble with balance and falls
Early Signs of Parkinson’s disease may also include any of the following:
- Handwriting that is smaller than usual
- Loss of smell
- Trouble sleeping
- Trouble moving/walking
- Soft/low voice
- Masked appearance to face
- Dizziness or fainting
- Stooped or hunched over
Many people with Parkinson’s disease report remembering non-motor symptoms appearing before motor-related symptoms. Those with PD often report these symptoms as being more disabling than motor symptoms.
- Hallucinations/vision changes
- Urinary incontinence
- Sexual dysfunction
- Digestive issues
- Sleep disorders
- Loss of smell/taste
- Variety of cognitive impairments
Due to the complexity of Parkinson’s disease and its variability from person to person, a complete care team is crucial. Those who have received a diagnosis of PD are advised to:
- Work with physician to create a plan to stay healthy – A referral to a neurologist, a doctor who specializes in the brain – Care from an occupational therapist, physical therapist, and/or speech therapist – Meeting with a medical social worker
- Start a regular exercise program to delay further symptoms – 2.5 hours of exercise a week, experience a slowed decline in quality of life compared to those who start later
- Gather support from family, friends, and PD support groups
If you’re interested in learning more about the neuroanatomy of Parkinson’s disease, young-onset Parkinson’s disease, medication, surgical interventions, and therapeutic interventions please join us on September 20, 2023, Parkinson’s Disease: Causes, Symptoms, Assessment, and Treatment.
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