Parkinson Disease Symptoms can Occur Well before Tremors: Know the Earliest Signs

If you’ve ever thought about “Parkinson’s Disease,” your mind likely goes to Michael J. Fox, the actor who’s made his tremor part of multiple characters he’s played over the years. But Parkinson’s can be noticed long before tremors set in if you know what symptoms to look for.

Dr. Christopher Duma has dedicated his life to treating patients with neurological disorders, including “movement disorders” like Parkinson’s Disease. He sees patients in his Newport Beach, California neurosurgery practice, and he can help confirm a Parkinson’s diagnosis at an early stage. He often prescribes a surgical treatment plan to improve quality of life. 

The basics of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease is a brain disorder that typically affects people over the age of 60, although 5%-10% of patients have an early-onset form that begins before age 50. If you have Parkinson’s, you will eventually start showing motor-related symptoms, the most noticeable of which are tremors which can affect your head, hands, and eventually your whole body. Other notable symptoms include slow movements, balance problems, and muscle stiffness.

Early signs of Parkinson’s Disease

Well before major motor problems show up, early signs appear that should prompt a doctor to consider Parkinson’s as a diagnosis (many patients are misdiagnosed for years).

Early stage symptoms that could indicate Parkinson’s include:

Additional, secondary symptoms include:

Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease

Dr. Duma can prescribe several treatments for Parkinson’s patients, He typically starts by confirming the diagnosis with brain scans. Clumps in the brain cells of a substance called “Lewy bodies” often provide confirmation that there is ongoing damage being done to brain cells, and it can help confirm a Parkinson’s diagnosis. 

If you catch Parkinson's early on, before tremors start, drug therapies may be used. Once tremors appear, surgical intervention can also help. Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) can help reduce tremors by use of an implanted device that allows patients to send electrical impulses to the part of the brain known as the thalamus, which is involved in movement. Dr. Duma uses the Activa™ Therapy System surgically implanted in the thalamus and a handheld magnet to allow patients to manually stop tremors up to 80% of the time.

If you or a loved one has early signs of Parkinson's, call Dr. Duma’s office at 949-209-9232 or request an appointment online.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What Is Ataxia?

If you’re one of the 150,000 people in the United States who have slurred speech or difficulties walking because of ataxia, it’s important you know everything you can about the disease and its treatment options.

Tooth Pain? It Could Be Trigeminal Neuralgia

Over 150,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with facial pain as a result of trigeminal neuralgia each year. Learn more about this painful nerve condition and what your options are for treating it.

The Promising Results of Immunotherapy

Advancements in immunotherapy for the treatment of malignant brain tumors is showing great promise. Find out how immunotherapy increases survival rates when used alongside traditional brain cancer treatments.

Understanding Dystonia

If your neck twists to one side or if you experience uncontrollable eye blinking, you may have a condition known as dystonia. Find out more about this movement disorder and the available treatment options for controlling your symptoms.

Surgical Complications and Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Surgery is the standard treatment for normal pressure hydrocephalus, but as with all surgeries, brings with it potential risks. The risks are few and small. Learn more about this brain condition and the possible side effects of surgery.