Parkinson's Disease is often considered a disease of older age, but symptoms and even a diagnosis are possible far before you might expect someone to exhibit symptoms or receive a diagnosis. Regardless of your age, knowing the warning signs of early-onset Parkinson's Disease can help you sort through whether or not what you're experiencing is something about which you shouldn't worry or something of which you should definitely take note.
Early-onset Parkinson's Disease — or young-onset Parkinson's Disease, as it's also known — is that which is diagnosed in people under the age of 50, as the Parkinson's Foundation notes on its website. Though many of the symptoms of early-onset Parkinson's Disease are similar or the same, at a certain point, as a later-onset Parkinson's Disease diagnosis, a 2014 study published in Parkinsonism & Related Disorders found that symptoms that aren't tremors are more common in the early-onset form of the disease. That being said, it's certainly possible to experience tremors and other symptoms that are more commonly-associated with Parkinson's Disease, even at a young age.
There are a number of additional symptoms that aren't as well-known as tremors are that you definitely need to know about if you're concerned about early-onset Parkinson's Disease. And if you have a family history of the condition, you might be more likely to develop symptoms (and receive a diagnosis) at a younger age, as the aforementioned study from Parkinsonism & Related Disorders noted. If you notice that some of these sorts of things sound familiar, particularly if you do have a family history of Parkinson's Disease, you may want to raise the topic with your doctor. It certainly doesn't mean that you will assuredly receive a diagnosis, but knowing what you're dealing with can help you determine the best way to move forward.
1. Loss Of Your Sense Of Smell
A loss (or deadening) of your sense of smell is one of the early signs of Parkinson's Disease and one that can happen when you're younger, as a post on the Parkinson's Foundation website noted. If you notice your sense of smell lessen, but don't seem to notice that it's coming back after several days or even a week (as it would if you were sick), that could be a super-subtle warning sign of early-onset Parkinson's.
There are a number of reasons that could account for why you're so constipated, but if you're experiencing constipation coupled with other potential early-onset Parkinson's Disease symptoms, you likely want to pay attention to that. Healthline noted that constipation is a sign of the early-onset form of the disorder.
3. Muscle Stiffness
Everyday Health reported that sometimes muscle stiffness or tightness can be an early warning sign of Parkinson's Disease. This is less likely when you're young than when you're older, but it's not unheard of for those with early-onset Parkinson's Disease to experience this sort of symptom as well.
4. Sleep Issues
Of course, there are many different reasons why you might experience sleep issues, from your nighttime habits to caffeine intake, stress, and beyond. One of the things that you might not have considered before, however, is that it could actually also be a sign of early-onset Parkinson's Disease, as the previously-mentioned post from the Parkinson's Foundation noted.
Depression can certainly be tied to a number of different conditions, but you might not realize that one is Parkinson's Disease, particularly if you don't have a lot of experience with the condition. Medical News Today cited depression as another non-motor symptom of Parkinson's Disease and the early-onset form of the condition.
6. A Very Soft Voice
The aforementioned article from Everyday Health noted that a very soft voice can be another Parkinson's Disease warning sign — the technical medical term is hypophonia. If you don't realize that you're struggling with this until others say something about it, that could definitely be a sign that you need to speak with your doctor, as Everyday Health reported that many people with Parkinson's Disease don't realize they're speaking so quietly.
If you notice that you're far more fatigued than usual, it may or may not be something serious. That being said, the previously-mentioned article from Healthline noted that fatigue can be a sign of early-onset Parkinson's Disease. If you have multiple symptoms, piecing it all together with your doctor can be important. Again, it doesn't mean that you have the condition, but if you do, in fact, have early-onset Parkinson's Disease, then working with your doctor to determine the best course of treatment is going to be important.
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