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Sheltering Arms Blog

7 Signs of Parkinson’s Disease You May Not Know

Posted on: April 3, 2019 by Clinicians Editor

By: Shannon Hernandez, ATC, CPT, AEFP, PWR! Certified

April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month. The Parkinson’s foundation defines the disease as a neurodegenerative disorder that affects predominately dopamine-producing (“dopaminergic”) neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD) usually develop slowly over several years and often vary from person to person, progressing at different rates. Symptoms of PD may include:

  1. Tremors at rest
  2. Bradykinesia – slow and small steps, movements or postural changes
  3. Gait and balance problems
  4. Stiffness and poor posture
  5. Instable posture
  6. Impaired kinesthesia – a diminished ability to sense the position of one’s body in space
  7. Soft and mumbled speech

Any one of these symptoms alone does not mean you have Parkinson’s, but a combination could be an indicator. Consult with your doctor for an official diagnosis if it has not already been confirmed.

The cause of PD is unknown and although there is no cure for the disease, treatment options are available, including exercise. Following a diagnosis, here are some recommendations to get the most out of your exercise plan:

  • Pay attention to which exercises you do and how you do them
  • Don’t go into autopilot to complete your exercises, really concentrate on body alignment
  • Focus on big movements in a safe environment
  • Place emphasis on each individual action to ensure proper form
  • As you become aware of your body and movements, you can challenge yourself with multi-task movements in a safe environment

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, exercising individually or in a group setting can help decrease many symptoms of the disease. If exercising on your own sounds overwhelming or is simply not motivating, group exercise is a great way to combat the common lack of enjoyment with exercise; receiving motivation from others increases enjoyment and helps you stick to an exercise plan.

Sheltering Arms offers a Parkinson’s disease care clinic and several fitness classes and programs specifically designed for people with PD. To learn more about these services, click the button below.

Parkinson's Clinic