Parkinson’s disease is a progressive illness that affects the nervous system. It is caused by the death of brain cells that produce dopamine, a chemical important for controlling movement. As a result, people with Parkinson’s disease may experience problems with movement and posture.
Since the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease develop gradually, many people may not recognize them initially. However, as the disease progresses, its signs and symptoms become more noticeable.
Signs and Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
A tremor is a rhythmic shaking of the hands, arms, legs, or head caused by involuntary muscle contractions. While it’s normal to feel shaky after exercising or during a fever, a tremor that occurs suddenly and uncontrollably may be a warning sign of Parkinson’s disease.
Usually, Parkinson’s tremors are rhythmical and happen when you are at rest. They also tend to be asymmetrical, meaning they affect one side of your body and may gradually spread to the other side over time.
Most Parkinson’s tremors are mild and may decrease when you are performing tasks. However, in some severe cases, the tremors can become so strong that they interfere with daily activities such as writing and eating.
- Slowed Movement
Over time, you may start to develop slow movements known as bradykinesia. This occurs because the brain cannot produce enough dopamine to coordinate movement properly.
Parkinson’s slowness happens in different ways. For example, some people may experience a reduction in automatic movements, such as blinking and swallowing. Others may find initiating simple movements like standing from a seated position challenging.
- Rigid Muscles
Though seldom, over time, you may develop a stiff, inflexible feeling in your muscles. Some people call this stiffness “tightness” because it can make it difficult to move your limbs.
The rigidity can affect one or both sides of your body and may lead to a decreased range of motion.
As a result, you may experience pain and muscle cramps when stretching or moving.
In some cases, rigidity can affect the quality of your sleep and lead to daytime fatigue. This is because sleeping with stiff muscles can lead to poor posture and discomfort during the night.
- Postural Instability
Postural instability is a condition that causes you to lose your balance due to a reduced feeling of gravity. It commonly occurs among older people with Parkinson’s disease, as they experience a gradual loss of strength and coordination in their muscles and joints.
People with postural instability often feel dizzy and unsteady when walking or standing up quickly. This may increase their risk of falls.
Parkinson’s disease may affect your speech in various ways. You may notice a speech pattern similar to mumbling or slurred speech. Your words may also become slower, less clear, or difficult to understand.
Sometimes, your speech may sound hoarse or breathy. This is known as dysarthria and can cause you to speak with a monotonous, robotic-sounding voice. Fortunately, a speech therapist can help you manage this problem.
Many factors can contribute to the onset of Parkinson’s disease. These include genetics and exposure to environmental toxins.
However, one potential trigger that is often overlooked is contaminated water. A classic example is the Camp Lejeune incident, where thousands of veterans were exposed to toxic drinking water that may have led to their development of Parkinson’s.
The good news is that if you were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease due to drinking Camp Lejeune’s toxic water, you might be eligible to file a claim at the Department of Veterans Affairs to receive compensation. However, it would be best to let an experienced attorney handle your case to increase your chances of a favorable outcome.
While there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, the early stages of Parkinson’s disease can be treated and successfully managed. Therefore, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention if you notice any symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
If you suspect water contamination or exposure to environmental toxins is the primary cause of the disease, talking to a skilled lawyer can help you understand your legal options.