Parkinson’s disease takes some time before it is fully developed and its most common symptom, tremor, becomes apparent. However, other symptoms may manifest themselves earlier. Detecting the disease in time is the key to delaying the onset of tremor, and although there is no curative treatment, symptoms can improve and allow a good quality of life, maintaining a high degree of autonomy.
- Smell decreases or disappears. This symptom is classified in the so-called prodromal symptoms that may appear years before the onset of the previous symptoms. At present we cannot foresee whether these prodromal symptoms will eventually lead to this disease.
- Constipation is a very common symptom for different pathologies, for this reason it is important not to be alarmed if it appears in isolation, because of its frequency in the general population.
- Depression is another symptom that characterizes this disease. It should be emphasized that the evolution is very variable in each patient and, in the same way that there are individuals with a slow progression, there are others who suffer from these symptoms in a short period of time.
- REM sleep disorder is characterized by aggressive motor behaviors, nightmares and absence of muscle atonia during REM sleep.
- Difficulty in mobility with problems with balance, may also be accompanied by decreased upper limb swing when walking, shuffling of the feet, shortened steps, tendency to move the body forward when walking, difficulty turning when walking, etc.
- Symptoms may affect one side more than the other, so there is an important asymmetry.
- Tremor is the most characteristic symptom of this disease. Studies are very promising in the search for treatments to modulate or slow the progression, but it is still at a very preliminary stage.
Despite the various scientific studies on this disease, the exact cause is not yet known. Genetic causes, which occur in some cases of familial Parkinson’s, chemical or toxic environmental causes have been suggested. However, it is important to keep in mind that early diagnosis is the best ally. The diagnosis is fundamentally clinical and has to be made by a neurologist, and sometimes confirmation is required with nuclear medicine tests or to rule out other causes through other imaging tests.
In the future there will be drugs that can slow down the disease that should be used in the early stages of the disease, before the degenerative process is already at an advanced stage. For this, early diagnosis is important.