What Is Parkinson’s Disease and What Are the First Signs of It?

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder. It affects the nervous system as well as body parts that are controlled by the nerves.

It is the second-most common neurodegenerative disorder in the U.S., after Alzheimer’s disease.

Studies indicate around 500,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but many go undiagnosed, so the number is actually likely to be much higher.

While most people who are diagnosed with the disease are over the age of sixty, many people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s at an earlier age.

First Signs

Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease begin slowly. Often, the first symptom is a slight tremor in one hand that is barely noticeable. Tremors can get worse over time.

Other common early signs include slowness of movement and stiffness.

Also, during the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, a person’s face may show no or little expression. Arms can swing when walking and speech can become slurred, too.

And symptoms often begin on one side of the body and often remain worse on that side even when the symptoms start to affect both sides of the body.

Typically, the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease worsen over time.


The symptoms of people with Parkinson’s disease can vary a lot. But here are the most common symptoms that people with Parkinson’s experience.


A tremor is one of the most common symptoms.

It typically begins in a limb, and often in the hand or fingers.

Rigid Muscles

When someone has Parkinson’s disease, muscle stiffness can affect any part of the body.

The stiffness can limit motion and be painful.

Slowed Movement

As Parkinson’s disease worsens, people often find their movement is slowed, which makes completing tasks challenging and time-consuming.

For instance, many people with Parkinson’s find they take shorter steps when they walk or find it hard to get out of chairs.

Loss of Automatic Movement

Someone with Parkinson’s could find that he or she has a decreased ability to perform unconscious movements, such as smiling, blinking, or swinging arms while walking.

Impaired Posture and Balance

People with Parkinson’s often find their postures become stooped.

They can also experience balance problems.

Speech Changes

Speech can become slurred.

People with Parkinson’s disease can also speak more softly, quickly, or with more hesitation.

Causes of Parkinson’s Disease

While the cause of Parkinson’s is actually unknown, several factors seem to play a role in the development of the disease.

Genetic changes and gene variations appear to sometimes play a role. Exposure to certain environmental factors and toxins may also increase the likelihood of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Can Toxic Chemicals Such as Paraquat Cause Parkinson’s Disease?

Yes, some toxic chemicals can cause Parkinson’s disease, such as paraquat dichloride, which is a toxic substance often used as an herbicide in the U.S. and other places in the world.

Many countries have actually banned paraquat, but it is still widely used in the U.S. and other countries as long as manufacturers comply with specific rules.

Agricultural workers and people who consume foods like vegetables, fruits, and grains that are treated with paraquat risk exposure to the toxic chemical. In turn, they have a heightened risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

So, if the “organic” labeling on your vegetables still doesn’t convince you, you might want to stick to growing fruit and veg in your own garden.

Many people who suffer from Parkinson’s disease which is believed to have been caused by paraquat are now filing lawsuits as part of a class action lawsuit.

Find out more from the paraquat lawsuit lawyers at The Dolman Law Group.

When Should You See a Doctor?

If you develop any of the symptoms that are associated with Parkinson’s disease, make sure you visit your doctor. He or she will be able to discover whether you have the early stages of Parkinson’s or whether you might have another health condition.


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