Steward Health Services Celebrates Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month

April is Parkinson’s Disease (PD) Awareness Month, and our team at Steward Health Care is committed to educating our patients about this disease and providing support to the PD community.

PD is a neurodegenerative disorder that impacts movement and affects nearly 60,000 Americans each year and 10 million worldwide. Most people with PD start to develop symptoms when they’re over the age of 50, although roughly 4% of people with the disease are diagnosed before then.

In addition to movement-related symptoms, Parkinson’s symptoms may be unrelated to movement and are mild enough to go unnoticed in its early stages. Although symptoms are unique to each individual, common signs of PD include:

  1. Tremors – Shaking that usually begins in a limb, often your hands or fingers.
  2. Slowed movement – Your steps may become shorter when you walk, you may have difficulty getting out of a chair, or may drag your feet as you try to walk.
  3. Rigid muscles – Muscle stiffness may occur in any part of your body and limit your range of motion.
  4. Impaired posture and balance – Your posture may become stooped, or you may experience balance problems.
  5. Loss of automatic movements – You may have difficulty performing unconscious movements, such as blinking or smiling.
  6. Speech changes – You may speak softly, quickly, slur or hesitate before talking.
  7. Writing changes – You may experience difficulty writing, and your writing may appear smaller than normal.

Although no single one of these signs means that you have PD, Steward recommends that anyone experiencing more than one of these symptoms consider making an appointment with a movement disorder specialist. To find a specialist in our network, please visit Steward DoctorFinder or call 800-488-5959.