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Sure Signs You're Getting Parkinson's, According to Science

This neurological disorder may start with subtle symptoms.

Parkinson's disease—a progressive disorder of the brain and central nervous system that can impair movement and speech—may have vague or subtle symptoms at first. (Actor Michael J. Fox said he was diagnosed after feeling a twitch in his left little finger.) But it's important to know what the first signals may be, so a proper diagnosis can be made and treatment can begin as soon as possible. These are some of the most common signs of Parkinson's disease, according to the Parkinson's Foundation. 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.



violently shaking hands of a PD sufferer (Parkinson's disease), tremors of the wrist and hand joints are the main symptom of the disorder

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. 

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Stiffness While Moving Or Walking

injured man suffering from pelvic pain or hip joint injury

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.


Handwriting Changes

woman writing

Micrographia—when your handwriting gets smaller or more crowded—can be a sign of Parkinson's. Arthritis or vision changes can also cause it, but if you notice this in combination with other symptoms, it's a good idea to contact your healthcare provider.

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Loss of Smell

Portrait of young woman smelling a fresh and sweet nectarine

Loss of smell could be a sign of COVID-19. It can also be a symptom of Parkinson's. If you experience a loss of smell, it's a good idea to get tested for COVID. But your ability to detect scents should come back. If it doesn't, ask your doctor if you should be screened for PD.


Frequent Constipation

upset woman in toilet by diarrhea, constipation, hemorrhoids, piles

Parkinson's affects the autonomic nervous system and prevents it from functioning properly, and that can slow down the digestive system and affect how your bowels move. If constipation is a new issue for you or has lasted longer than three weeks, call your doctor.

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A "Masked Face"

angry middle aged woman

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.


Dizziness or Changes in Posture


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.

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When to See a Doctor

Doctor and senior woman wearing facemasks

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 Disease 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 get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor. Read more about Michael