5 Early Signs of Parkinson's Disease

Feb 09, 2023
5 Early Signs of Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson’s disease is notorious for causing muscle spasms and rigidity, but those are just two of the many signs of Parkinson’s disease. In this blog, we share five early signs of the condition and why early intervention is so important.

Parkinson’s disease 一 a neurodegenerative disorder affecting specific brain neurons 一 impacts many different areas of your body, but your limbs are most affected. Most symptoms develop slowly over a long period and can greatly impact your quality of life and your independence.

Because Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder, early intervention is essential because the right therapies can help slow its development. Learning to identify five early signs of Parkinson’s disease plays a big role in early intervention. 

Below, our team here at the Texas Herbal Clinic highlights five early signs and how Darryl Camp, MD, can help you find relief from your symptoms.

1. Smaller handwriting

Changes in your handwriting may not seem like a big issue at first, but certain changes can be an early warning sign of Parkinson’s disease. Particularly, if your handwriting becomes smaller and the words start to crowd together, take note. You may also notice that the process of writing becomes slower for you too.

2. Changes in voice

Voice changes are also a common early sign of Parkinson’s disease. These changes may include:

  • Using a softer voice
  • Quieter volume
  • Frequent throat clearing
  • Trailing off at the end of sentences 

Keep in mind that just because you witness any of these changes doesn’t mean you’ve developed Parkinson’s disease. For example, you may feel the need to clear your throat more often if your allergies flare up or if you’re feeling under the weather.

3. Changes in movements 

Parkinson’s disease is notorious for the challenges it presents with your movements. Changes in your movements can manifest in many different ways, including:

  • Increase in tremors (and they may begin in your hands or fingers when at rest)
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Muscle spasms 
  • Rigidity 
  • One arm that doesn’t swing as much as the other one when you walk

You may also notice that all of your movements seem slower than they used to. For example, your steps may become shorter, it may take more time to get up out of a chair, and it may take longer to tie your shoes or button a jacket.

4. Anxiety

Parkinson’s disease is well-known for its motor-related symptoms, but anxiety and depression are two non-motor signs of Parkinson’s disease. The Parkinson’s Foundation notes that anxiety isn’t a reaction to being diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Instead, it’s something that can form because of the changes in your brain associated with Parkinson’s disease.

Anxiety can also develop independently of Parkinson’s disease. An anxiety diagnosis alone isn’t enough to diagnose Parkinson’s disease. Rather, look for the big picture i.e., experiencing many of these early warning signs together.

5. Changes in sleep

People with Parkinson's experience many sleep-related woes, including: 

  • Insomnia
  • Fragmented sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness

To help mitigate sleep issues, practice good sleep hygiene 一 sleep in a cool, dark room, use white noise, avoid screens for 1-2 hours before bed, and establish a set bedtime 一 and consider keeping a sleep diary to log the frequency of sleep disturbances. 

What to do if you spot these signs

If you suspect that some of your symptoms are related to early Parkinson’s disease, don’t hesitate to seek a proper diagnosis. While the thought of Parkinson’s disease can be overwhelming, remember that early intervention can help you get the tools and treatments you need to help manage symptoms. 

Here at Texas Herbal Clinic, Dr. Camp may recommend medical marijuana to help reduce many of the common Parkinson’s symptoms. Both cannabinoids (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) 一 two cannabinoids present in marijuana 一 are anti-inflammatory and can help improve sleep quality, support physical function, reduce feelings of anxiety, and even help with pain reduction. 

To learn more about how medical marijuana can help you manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, book your consultation today or review our Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about the Texas Medical Marijuana program.