For some people, the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease may seem like a bolt of blue.
But a new study suggests that early signs of brain changes may have been there before.
When we think of the sufferers of Parkinson's disease, many of us think of vaginal, older people who shake.
But there is a way to go before trembling.
Earlier this month, we announced to Sean Painter, who was diagnosed just 20 years after he noticed that his leg turns around while watching television.
He compared his sporadic plans to be a hunter – but they were actually early signs that he was suffering from Parkinson's disease.
Hence, the disease can begin to manifest at any age and in many ways.
Millions of Britons can not cite a single symptom of the disease, with a recent study revealing that 64 percent of people mistakenly anticipate early-onset Parkinson's disease can not take care of themselves.
But you can tell us early if you want to undergo it.
Writing about the conversation, professors Patrick Lewis and Alastair Nojce say we should be looking for four seemingly innocent, everyday signs …
1. Losing the sense of smell
A common memory of people diagnosed with Parkinson's disease is that they recall changes in their sense of smell for several years before developing any tremor or other motion problems.
But many people may not even recognize that their sense of smell is bad.
Only when tested, we can see that up to 90 percent of people living with Parkinson's disease have lost the sense of smell.
2. Restless nights
There is a link between sleep changes, called rapid eye movement (REM), sleep disturbance and risk of developing Parkinson's disease.
Disruption of the behavior of REM sleep, or RDB for a short time, is more than simply a nightmare experience.
People with RBD reflect their dreams, sometimes moving violently in a dream, to the extent that they can even hurt, but often do not remember their actions.
RBB is rare and can only be diagnosed with a special sleep study, but most people who develop MRD will develop Parkinson's disease or a similar condition within a decade.
Problems with digestion and bowel movement are a major problem for people with Parkinson's disease, and now we know that these problems can begin well before trembling and movement problems leading to someone being referred to a neurologist.
As with most of these initial symptoms, people may develop constipation for many different reasons, but it is clear that people living with Parkinson's have problems with bowel movements.
Constipation can in fact be one of the earliest features that occur up to 20 years before Parkinson's disease is diagnosed.
4. Anxiety and Depression
A feeling of anxiety or depression over and above normal ups and downs of everyday life is one of the biggest problems people with a Parkinson report – sometimes notice as an even bigger problem than changes in the movement.
We think that this is due to changes in the balance of chemical activity in the brain and that these changes begin up to ten years before people are diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
It's important to remember that there are many reasons why someone, or a combination of these changes, can happen.
And even if you have all of them, that does not mean that you will surely develop Parkinson's disease.
But there is good evidence that most people with diagnosed Parkinson's disease have experienced some or all of these.
Other symptoms of Parkinson's disease
Signs of Parkinson's disease fall into two categories: motor and non-motor.
It's important to remember that not everyone will feel all the symptoms and that some of them are commonplace for many different conditions – not everyone who experiences them will have Parkinson's disease.
- low blood pressure
- restless legs
- problems with the bladder and colon
- difficulty swallowing and poor control of saliva
- spoken questions
- eye problems
- bad tooth health
- memory and thinking problems
- hallucinations and misconceptions
According to a recent survey conducted by Cera's home institution, only 22 percent of people are confident of how familiar they are with Parkinson's symptoms.
Almost 50 per cent of people were unable to identify the common symptom of Parkinson's disease for one's handwriting.
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Scientists are currently looking for people to participate in the research in order to find people at risk of Parkinson's disease.
That, I hope, will lead them to find prevention or treatment.
If you are interested in participating, visit the Predict PD website here.
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