Around 50,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) every year.
It’s a complicated and progressive disease that has both motor and non-motor symptoms. People are often familiar with symptoms like tremor and freezing, but there are many more symptoms of PD that you may not know about. Below are 5 PD symptoms that are not as widely known.
#1: Loss of Sense of Smell
People sometimes notice long before they are diagnosed with PD that their sense of smells seems duller than it once was. This symptom is called hyposmia, and it is often an early sign of PD. However, not everyone who experiences hyposmia goes on to develop PD.
#2: Sleep Problems
PD has been associated with a higher risk for several kinds of sleep problems. They are often an early sign of the disease. Some common sleep disorders that may occur with PD are:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness.
- REM sleep behavior disorder.
- Restless leg syndrome.
- Sleep apnea.
#3: Hallucinations and Delusions
Experiencing hallucinations and delusions with PD is called Parkinson’s psychosis. Though not well known, it is a symptom that occurs in more than 50 percent of people who have PD. Hallucinations are usually visual, but they can also involve the other senses. Delusions may be false accusations, such as accusing people of stealing or a spouse of cheating.
#4: Speech Changes
PD can cause several changes in the way your older family member speaks. Their voice may become quiet and hoarse, though they may not even notice it. People who experience this symptom may benefit from working with a speech therapist. At home, singing can help make the voice stronger.
#5: Muscle Spasms and Cramps
This symptom is called dystonia. In people with PD, it most often occurs in the foot, causing the toes to curl and painful cramping. It can also make the ankle turn when the person goes to stand up or take a step. It is more common in the morning when PD medications are wearing off.
If your aging relative has PD, elderly care can assist them so that they can continue living at home as long as possible. Elderly care providers can help with personal care needs, such as getting dressed, bathing, and other personal hygiene tasks. Elderly care providers can also help with taking care of the home by doing things like vacuuming, dusting, and making beds. Elderly care providers can also offer transportation and remind seniors to take medications.