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If You Feel This, You May Have Parkinson's

Parkinson's may have subtle symptoms at first.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder of the brain and central nervous system that can impair movement and speech. In recent years, Michael J. Fox has given a celebrity face to the condition. According to Fox and experts, Parkinson's may have vague or subtle symptoms at first. (Fox's first symptom was a twitch in his little finger.)  If you feel these things, it might be a sign of Parkinson's disease. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Tremor

Mature man sitting on sofa and holding his hand.
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Some people with Parkinson's develop a tremor, or shaking. This often initially appears in your finger, hand, or chin while you're at rest. 

2

Stiffness While Moving

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Stiffness or trouble moving could be caused by an injury or issue like arthritis. But if the stiffness doesn't go away when you move, it can be a sign of Parkinson's disease. An early signal may be stiffness or pain in your shoulder or hips; you might also feel like your feet are stuck to the floor.

3

Dizziness

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You might feel a sense of dizziness when you stand up, or notice changes in your posture at any time. Those changes may include stooping, hunching over, or leaning. "Feeling dizzy upon standing due to orthostatic hypotension is a common symptom of Parkinson's disease that's caused by a dip in blood pressure," says Johns Hopkins Medicine.

4

Handwriting Changes

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If your handwriting is getting smaller or more crowded, it may be a condition called micrographia. This can be a sign of Parkinson's. Arthritis or vision changes can also cause it, but if you notice handwriting changes in combination with other symptoms, it's a good idea to contact your healthcare provider.

5

Frequent Constipation

Door knob on or off the bathroom
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Parkinson's affects the autonomic nervous system and prevents it from functioning properly, and that can slow down the digestive system. If constipation is a new issue for you or has lasted longer than three weeks, it's a good idea to consult your healthcare provider. "Before resorting to laxatives, try drinking more fluids, upping your intake of fiber-rich foods and exercising," advises Johns Hopkins.

6

Changes In Your Face

depression & anxiety
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Your expression may appear serious or even angry when you don't intend it to. If you've been told you look serious, depressed, or mad when you're feeling fine, ask your doctor whether PD screening is warranted.

7

When to See a Doctor

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If you're experiencing more than one of the above symptoms, it's a good idea to see your doctor. If you're diagnosed with Parkinson's by an internist or geriatrician, the Parkinson's Foundation recommends following up with a movement disorder specialist for a second opinion. These neurologists are specifically trained to diagnose and treat Parkinson's.

And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more about Michael
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