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Parkinson's Disease

14 Early Signs of Parkinson’s Disease You Shouldn’t Ignore

Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. While it typically manifests in older adults, early signs of parkinson’s can usually go unnoticed or be mistaken for other issues.

In today’s article, we will explore the nature of Parkinson’s Disease, its causes, early signs, risk factors, as well as prevention strategies. Recognizing the early signs of of parkinson’s is crucial for timely intervention and improved quality of life.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurological condition that primarily affects the movement of the body. This condition occurs due to the gradual loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for controlling muscle movement and coordination. Once these cells start deteriorating, it leads to a range of motor as well as non-motor symptoms.

Parkinson’s Disease Causes

Parkinson’s Disease is a complex neurological condition with multifactorial causes. While the exact origin of the disease remains elusive, researchers have identified several key factors that contribute to its development. Understanding Parkinson’s disease causes is quite essential for both prevention and effective management.

Here’s a list of the common Parkinson’s Disease causes:

1. Genetic Factors:

Genetics play a significant role in Parkinson’s Disease, with a small percentage of cases linked to specific genetic mutations. These mutations can be passed down through generations, increasing the risk of developing this condition. Researchers have identified several genes associated with familial Parkinson’s Disease, including SNCA, LRRK2, and Parkin.

2. Environmental Factors:

Environmental factors have long been listed among the Parkinson’s disease causes. Exposure to certain toxins and chemicals can further increase this risk. Pesticides, herbicides, and industrial chemicals like paraquat and rotenone have been associated with a higher incidence of the disease. Living in rural areas with agricultural exposure may also contribute to the risk.

3. Aging:

One of the most significant Parkinson’s Disease causes is the advancing age. While this disease can affect people of all ages, it is most commonly diagnosed in individuals over the age of 60. The aging process itself also contributes to the loss of dopamine-producing neurons in the brain, which is a hallmark of Parkinson’s.

4. Chemical Exposure:

Occupational exposure to chemicals like manganese, found in welding fumes, and certain solvents, has been linked to an increased risk of Parkinson’s Disease. These chemicals may lead to the accumulation of harmful substances in the brain that contribute to neuronal damage.

5. Inflammation and Oxidative Stress:

Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress within the brain have also been implicated as Parkinson’s Disease causes. These processes can damage neurons and trigger the degeneration associated with the condition. Researchers continue to explore the role of inflammation and oxidative stress in the development of the disease.

Early Signs of Parkinson’s Disease

Identifying the early signs of Parkinson’s Disease is critical for timely diagnosis and intervention. Often, these symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease are subtle and may be dismissed as part of the normal aging process or unrelated health issues. However, recognizing these symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease can make a significant difference in managing the condition effectively.

Here are 14 early signs of Parkinson’s Disease that should not be ignored:

1. Tremors:

Tremors, particularly in the hands, fingers, or sometimes the jaw and face, are one of the hallmark symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. These tremors are typically noticeable when the affected individual is at rest and decrease during purposeful movement.

2. Muscle Stiffness:

Muscle stiffness or rigidity can make movements feel slow and uncomfortable. It’s often described as a resistance to passive stretching of the limbs. This muscle stiffness can affect mobility and flexibility.

3. Bradykinesia:

Bradykinesia refers to slowness of movement. People with Parkinson’s Disease may experience a significant delay in initiating and executing voluntary movements, making everyday tasks more challenging.

4. Postural Instability:

Postural instability leads to balance problems and an increased risk of falling. Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease may find it challenging to maintain an upright posture and may have a stooped or hunched appearance.

5. Micrographia:

Micrographia is characterized by small, cramped handwriting. Over time, individuals with Parkinson’s Disease often find it difficult to write legibly due to fine motor control issues.

6. Hyposmia:

A diminished sense of smell, known as hyposmia, is a very common early sign of Parkinson’s Disease. People may struggle to detect or recognize familiar odors, which can impact their enjoyment of food and safety.

7. Sleep Disturbances:

Sleep disturbances, such as frequent awakenings, restless legs, or vivid dreams, can occur in Parkinson’s Disease. Poor sleep quality can exacerbate other symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease and reduce overall well-being.

8. Depression:

Depression is a non-motor symptom of Parkinson’s Disease that often precedes motor symptoms. Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities may be early indicators.

9. Loss of Smell:

Loss of smell, or anosmia, can be significant. It not only affects the enjoyment of food but can also impact safety by making it difficult to detect hazards like spoiled food or gas leaks.

10. Anxiety:

Anxiety, characterized by excessive worry or fear, is common in individuals with Parkinson’s Disease. It can be a response to the uncertainties and challenges that come with the condition.

11. Facial Masking:

Facial masking refers to a reduction in facial expressions, making an individual appear emotionless or unresponsive. This can affect communication and social interactions.

12. Vocal Changes:

Changes in voice, such as softening or slurred speech, can occur. Individuals may find it challenging to project their voices or articulate words clearly.

13. Fatigue:

Fatigue is one of the most pervasive symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, often unrelated to physical exertion. Individuals may experience a profound lack of energy, even after a full night’s rest.

14. Constipation:

Constipation, characterized by infrequent and difficult bowel movements, can be one of the early gastrointestinal symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. It may also precede other motor symptoms.

Risk Factors of Parkinson’s Disease

There are several factors that may increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease. Some of the most common ones are listed below:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Gender
  • Environmental toxins
  • Head injuries

Prevention of Parkinson’s Disease

While there is no surefire way to prevent Parkinson’s Disease, certain lifestyle choices can lower the risk:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Avoid exposure to pesticides and herbicides
  • Protect your head from injury
  • Consider caffeine consumption


Early detection and understanding of the early signs of Parkinson’s Disease are vital to be able to effectively manage this condition. If you or a loved one experiences any of these symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, they need to seek medical assistance promptly.

At Manhattan Medical Arts, we specialize in diagnosing and managing neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s Disease. Our experienced team is dedicated to improving the lives of our patients through advanced treatments and compassionate care.

Do not ignore any of the mentioned symptoms of Parkinson’s disease; contact us today for a consultation and take proactive steps towards better health.

– Disclaimer –
This blog is for informational & educational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by Dr. Syra Hanif, M.D. on 10/09/2023

Learn more about our editorial process.

  • About The Author

    Dr. Syra Hanif M.D.

    Board Certified Primary Care Physician

Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.

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