If you are a family caregiver for an aging loved one, you may know some of the most frequent symptoms of Parkinson’s. However, learning about some of the lesser-known symptoms of this neurodegenerative condition can also be helpful, ensuring that the disease is detected early on. Presented by Home Care Assistance of Chandler here are five of the most commonly missed signs of Parkinson’s.
1. Impaired Sense of Taste and Smell
Parkinson’s disease occurs when the brain is no longer able to produce a chemical called dopamine. This chemical sends messages between the brain and various nerves and muscles, including the nerves controlling taste and smell. The inability to smell strong scents or taste favorite foods may be an early indicator of Parkinson’s and is often dismissed as being a nuisance, rather than a cause for concern.
2. Changes in Handwriting
Parkinson’s disease is characterized by slow muscle movement. One of the first places this can show up is in a senior’s handwriting. Your loved one may take longer to write things than before and his or her writing may appear cramped and difficult to read. As conditions, like arthritis, can also cause this type of change in handwriting, this symptom is frequently overlooked.
3. Sleep Disorders
Though 40 percent of seniors with Parkinson’s experience sleep disorders as much as ten years before being diagnosed, many of these individuals misattribute their interrupted sleep to other conditions. The most common disorder involves acting out dreams during deep sleep, or grinding teeth, yelling, or even kicking during sleep.
4. Excessive Sweating
Parkinson’s affects the autonomic nervous system, making it more difficult for the body to regulate temperature. As a result, your loved one may find their skin becomes oilier or that he or she begins to sweat even when he or she is not hot or anxious. Female seniors frequently overlook this symptom, confusing it for menopausal hot flashes.
5. Persistent Neck Pain
Pain, numbness, or tingling in the neck that does not go away within a few days can be a warning sign of Parkinson’s, particularly among women. This pain is often dismissed as a persistent or recurring cramp, kink, or pulled muscle.
Following a Parkinson’s diagnosis, seniors are often safer and more comfortable with the in-home assistance of a Chandler Parkinson’s caregiver. Expertly trained to help with a range of routine tasks, including personal grooming, cooking, cleaning, and transportation, a professional caregiver can help ensure your loved one’s health needs are met. To learn more about our senior care services, give a Care Manager a call at (480) 448-6215 and schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.