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Have you ever noticed the handwriting of someone you care about where it becomes smaller and more cramped over time? Have you observed someone struggling to smell their food? These everyday occurrences might actually be indicators of Parkinson’s disease, a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. While tremors are typically the first thing that crosses our mind when we talk about Parkinson’s. There are several lesser known early signs that can manifest long before the characteristic shaking begins. 

This article explores ten warning signs that should not be overlooked, empowering you to take control of your health and the well being of those close to you. It’s important to remember that detecting Parkinson’s disease early is crucial for managing it effectively.

10 Early Signs of Parkinson’s Disease

Before we dive into and look at the early signs of Parkinson’s, it is important to note that each case is unique. Hence, not everyone will have a similar series of symptoms. We are sharing a list of early signs and symptoms so you can keep a lookout for yourself or your loved ones. No single one of these signs is meant to make you worry, but it is an attempt to bring awareness to you. It will allow you to make an appointment to talk to a neurologist. Without further adieu, let’s look at the 10 early signs of Parkinson’s.


It is often the first motor symptom that is visible as someone starts to develop Parkinson’s. It is not the tremor that occurs in our hands after we lift a heavy object. A typical PD tremor occurs mostly at rest and is reduced when we are sleeping or involved in an activity. For example, you might be standing and your hand will start to shake, but when you extend the same hand to greet someone, the tremor is less noticeable or goes away entirely. At the early stages, the tremors would be slight and almost unnoticeable. Even though we gave an example of the hand, tremors can occur in any body part. Some people also report that they feel an internal tremor underneath the skin in the chest or abdomen.

Small Handwriting

As we age, our handwriting can change, and one major factor is the occurrence of stiff hands or fingers. A few conditions, like arthritis, could also push a person’s handwriting to change significantly over time. As we lose our mobility, we tend to start writing smaller and cramped together. If we write a long essay, then you will find that your handwriting might get progressively smaller and more cramped. In addition, if you have tremors, you will find it very difficult to write long essays.

Loss of Smell

Not all people might have a reduced sense of smell, but it is often an early sign of Parkinson’s. Even sometimes, doctors might overlook these symptoms, as they are not a common concern when diagnosing a motor condition. If you progressively lose the ability to smell, it can lead to reduced enjoyment of food and a reduced appetite.

Trouble Sleeping

Sleep plays a crucial role in helping us rejuvenate and is another process that we do in autopilot mode. Our brain takes time to rest, which allows our body to restore and repair itself. A few Parkinson’s patients might find it difficult to fall and stay asleep during normal sleeping hours even before the motor symptoms manifest and show themselves.

Difficulty Moving or Walking

People who are starting to show early signs of Parkinson’s disease might find it difficult to walk and often lose their balance. For example, we fall down because we stumb our foot on an uneven surface. If these kinds of stumbling increase in frequency, then it is preferable to get yourself checked for parkinsonian disorders.


Parkinson’s can affect the nerves that control the contraction and relaxation of digestive tract muscles. It can result in uncontrolled contraction that may lead to bowel movements. alongside straining, hard stools, or a sensation of incomplete emptying. It is also one of the widely recognized gastrointestinal symptoms of Parkinson’s.

Soft or Low Voice:

Early signs of Parkinson’s can also have an impact on the speech as well. The lungs, the vocal folds of our voice box, and the tongue and throat muscles all play a role in controlling speech. Parkinson’s disease can result in tremors that may affect the vocal cords, causing the voice to sound shaky or strained. Weakness or rigidity in the tongue and throat muscles can impair articulation, making speech mumbled or slurred.

Masked Face

Just like stiffness and rigidity in the muscles of our limbs, we can experience rigidity in our face muscles as well. It will hinder our ability to show or control any type of facial expression. It is called face masking, and it can make us look stiff and emotionless even when we are feeling a plethora of emotions on the inside.


People with Parkinson’s disease frequently report experiencing dizziness and vertigo as problems. During an event, the person might feel woozy, weak or unsteady, resulting in a loss of balance. In certain advanced cases, they might even faint during a bout of dizziness and vertigo. One thing to note is that both of these symptoms are less noticeable in people in the early stages of Parkinson’s.

Stooping Over

You might have noticed that Parkinson’s disease symptoms are all those that affect our autopilot activities like walking, writing, and eating. A similar thing happens in Parkinson’s as well, where we unconsciously start to stoop or bend over. It will result in rounded shoulders, a decreased low-back curve, or a forward lean of the head, making you look hunched over.

How can you Manage Parkinson’s Disease?

There are many options available to effectively manage and treat Parkinson’s disease. It includes medications, physiotherapy, movement therapies, surgery, and regenerative medicine. We will briefly touch upon all the preferred methods.

  • Medications: Use of Levodopa is the most preferred way to manage Parkinson’s symptoms. There are other medications available, like dopamine agonists, monoamine oxidase B and COMT inhibitors. It is important to note that the medicines may be effective when trying to manage a mild-to-moderate case of Parkinson’s. An important point to note is that as time progresses and conditions develop into advanced stages, these medications lose effectiveness, and several people experience “on-off periods” due to medications.
  • Surgery: Depending on the severity of the conditions, doctors sometimes suggest people go under the blade. There are multiple types of surgery options available for the condition. The aim of the surgery is to decrease the dependency on the medication, and reduce the severity of the symptoms. Two of the most common surgeries include:
    • Lesion Surgery: In this type of surgery, doctors take advantage of ultrasound frequency under an MRI to precisely locate and burn the lesion that is causing symptoms. At times, the doctors might keep the patient awake to find the exact location of the lesion before burning the tissue.
    • Deep Brain Stimulation: This surgery is much less invasive than the lesion surgery we described above. Here, doctors operate and place an implant deep in the brain near the region that is responsible for producing symptoms (mostly tremors). After the implantation, doctors turn on the stimulation through a remote device, which helps decrease the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. It is like a brain pacemaker that helps the brain function effectively at all times.
  • Movement Therapies: Because Parkinson’s affects our ability to balance and move freely, certain physical therapies that focus on improving balance and mobility are excellent choices. The therapist can help train a person’s body to accommodate different motions under the influence of Parkinson’s. Some individuals prefer to go to activities like martial arts, yoga, or the gym rather than go to a therapist, but essentially what they are trying to do is keep their mobility high.
  • Regenerative Medication: Scientists are exploring the use of regenerative medicine like stem cell treatment for Parkinson’s disease in India. With the use of stem cells in a conducive environment, they are able to help produce dopamine-producing neurons. In some cases, scientists are using neural stem cells from the hypothalamus and transplanting them into the brain to alleviate the symptoms of a Parkinson’s patient. There are well documented cases from clinical trials and individual cases that have shown significant improvements in their symptoms after stem cell therapy. It has had a significant effect on patients aged 50 to 70 years. The patients report
    • Reduced tremors
    • Improved facial expressions
    • Reduced tiredness
    • Enhanced speech
    • Reduced muscle rigidity
    • Improvement in mood swings
    • Reduced sleep disturbances


Parkinson’s disease, even though a degenerative condition, can be well controlled using treatment choices. Medications, physical therapy, exercises, surgical procedures and regenerative medicine are all available options to support individuals in sustaining a good quality of life. Detecting the disease early is crucial in optimizing the effectiveness of these therapies. If you suspect that either you, yourself, or someone you know may be displaying symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, it’s important to seek advice from a doctor. Timely intervention can greatly enhance the progression of the condition.


What is the Difference Between Parkinson’s Disease and Parkinsonism?

Parkinsonism is an umbrella term that is used to describe a collection of movement symptoms that have similar characteristics to Parkinson’s disease. Whereas Parkinson’s disease is a specific condition. It is also the most common cause of Parkinsonism.

How does a Person get Parkinson’s Disease?

The cause of Parkinson’s disease is still unknown. However, we are aware that the condition is a result of the brain’s ability to produce dopamine. Researchers have found that there is a correlation between the condition, genetics and environmental factors. Still, we cannot conclusively say if a person will develop Parkinson’s symptoms.

Is Parkinson’s Disease Fatal?

Parkinson’s disease itself is not fatal, but the symptoms of the condition more often than not are contributing factors to death. The condition puts a great strain on the person’s body and leaves people vulnerable to life-threatening infections.

Can Parkinson’s Disease be Cured?

At present, we are unable to cure a person of Parkinson’s disease. But, with significant advancements in the regenerative medicine field, we can effectively manage Parkinson’s disease symptoms. There are therapies, like stem cell therapy, that can assist individuals in managing the condition and maintaining a normal, active lifestyle. In some extreme cases, deep brain stimulation equipment is used to manage the condition.

What is the Life Expectancy for Parkinson’s Disease?

When we look at the life expectancy after Parkinson’s diagnosis, it has increased from under 10 years in 1967 to more than 14.5 years in recent years. The treatment for the condition will keep improving, and we can see people living almost normal lives with an extended lifespan.

How does a Person with Parkinson’s Feel?

When a person is battling Parkinson’s, they will have good and bad days, but their effect on a person’s physical and mental well-being is more profound. The effect on the patient’s health can vary from one person to another. For example, having a restless night, having a gastrointestinal condition, or experiencing a great deal of stress can interfere with how well anyone functions.