Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects balance, movement, and muscle control.
Detecting the first signs of Parkinson’s allows for early intervention, which can significantly impact how quickly the disease progresses, allowing you to maintain your quality of life.
Here are some of the first signs of Parkinson’s disease and ways that the promising potential of stem cell therapy could fight the condition’s progression.
Tremors are not only one of the earliest signs of Parkinson’s but also one of the most common. Resting tremors happen in the hands, fingers, and limbs when the muscles are relaxed. Over time, these tremors start to progress in severity, usually affecting one side of the body before the other.
Also called bradykinesia, slowed movement is another early sign of Parkinson’s. Bradykinesia manifests as:
- The reduced ability to either initiate or complete movements
- Diminished facial expressions
- Difficulty performing everyday tasks like cutting food or buttoning up a shirt
As Parkinson’s continues to progress, bradykinesia becomes more apparent and can further reduce your mobility.
Rigidity, or muscle stiffness, is a common early sign of Parkinson’s. It causes muscle discomfort and limits your range of motion, which contributes to joint pain. Many individuals with Parkinson’s experience rigidity in their neck and limbs, which makes it difficult to move freely.
Those with Parkinson’s typically struggle with instability, which is caused by impaired balance and coordination. People with Parkinson’s may struggle to stand up straight, maintain their balance, or make sudden movements.
These issues increase the risk of falls and injuries in someone living with Parkinson’s disease.
Sometimes, Parkinson’s causes changes in walking patterns, such as:
- Shuffling feet
- Shorter steps
- Stiffer arms
As Parkinson’s continues to progress, walking becomes more challenging. Individuals with Parkinson’s report feeling stuck or unable to move forward.
While many early signs of Parkinson’s have to do with motor skills, there are also non-motor symptoms:
- Mood changes
- Loss of smell
- Sleep disturbances
- Significant changes in bowel movements
- Cognitive difficulties
Many people who experience these symptoms do not have Parkinson’s. However, if these non-motor symptoms appear in conjunction with movement difficulties, it is more likely that Parkinson’s is the cause.
Parkinson’s Early Intervention with Regenerative Medicine
Regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, is a promising field of medicine for a variety of neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s. Regenerative medicine aims to restore the function of the dopamine-producing neurons that degenerate in the brain of people with Parkinson’s using mesenchymal stem cells. Many patients who receive stem cell therapy report improvements in their motor function and reductions in tremors, which can enhance their overall quality of life.
Recognizing the early signs of Parkinson’s disease is critical, as early intervention can potentially slow the rate of progression. By recognizing the signs and symptoms, you can access medical interventions and pursue treatment to manage the disorder and preserve your quality of life.