The well-known actor Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 29. At the time, he was one of the most famous celebrities in show business. He gradually developed symptoms such as tremors, stiffness in the limbs and difficulty speaking, and later became a great advocate for awareness and research of this disease. Parkinson’s disease is better treated if detected early, and there is a way to self-test and prevent it.
The Earliest Sign of Parkinson’s Disease
It is well known that Parkinson’s disease can cause dyskinesia, that is, uncontrolled and involuntary movements like twitches.
In fact, Parkinson’s disease has another early symptom. That is, most people with Parkinson’s disease have problems with their sense of smell five to 10 years before the onset of the disease’s obvious symptoms such as stiffness in the limbs.
In addition, Parkinson’s disease has an even earlier sign.
There is a sleep disorder called the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder. People with this sleep disorder can often punch and kick during sleep, and they often dream of arguing with others, being chased, or facing other stressful situations. Their physical movements in their sleep can even cause injury to themselves or others beside them.
“This is a common occurrence in the elderly, but it may be a precursor to Parkinson’s disease, symptoms which can occur 10 or 15 years before the onset of the disease,” said Dr. Jyh-Haur Lu, a neurologist and director of the Jyh-Haur Lu Neurology Clinic in New York.
In as early as 2006, a study published in the journal Lancet showed that 45 percent of people with the REM sleep disorder would later develop Parkinson’s disease and neurodegenerative diseases caused by dopamine deficiency in the brain. In recent years, more studies have confirmed the close relationship between the REM sleep disorder and Parkinson’s disease.
Dr. Lu pointed out that only a small percentage of people with olfactory disorders develop Parkinson’s disease, but if a patient also has REM sleep disorder, the chance of developing Parkinson’s disease is as high as 65 percent. So, he does not ignore the problems of smell and sleep during his medical consultation.
People with Parkinson’s disease may also suddenly lose a lot of weight.
By HEALTH 1+1