Know the early signs of Parkinson’s

Know the early signs of Parkinson’s

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, with a focus on education regarding the symptoms of Parkinson’s and how to address them.

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological disorder; 1 million Americans and 10 million worldwide are living with the disease, which has no cure but can be managed through treatment and care. More than 110,000 veterans with Parkinson’s receive treatment through the VA. Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease behind Alzheimer’s, with 90,000 new cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year.

While Parkinson’s was not added to the list of presumptive conditions covered by the PACT Act, the legislation did expand the number of presumptive locations for exposure to Agent Orange. Parkinson’s and Parkinsonism are considered presumptive conditions associated with Agent Orange exposure.

Parkinson’s is also among the presumptive conditions for veterans who were stationed at Camp Lejeune between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987, covered by the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. And Parkinson’s and Parkinsonism are recognized as secondary conditions to service-connected moderate or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).

The Parkinson’s Foundation has a website dedicated to resources for veterans and their loved ones at The VA’s dedicated Parkinson’s website is

Early signs and symptoms

The Parkinson’s Foundation notes 10 early signs that might indicate someone has Parkinson’s:

* Tremors

* Small handwriting

* Loss of smell

* Trouble sleeping

* Trouble moving or walking

* Constipation

* Soft or low voice

* Facial masking

* Dizziness or fainting

* Stooping or hunching over

If you have more than one of these signs, you should consider talking to your doctor, the Parkinson’s Foundation noted.

Primary movement symptoms of Parkinson’s include bradykinesia, or slowness of movement; tremor; and rigidity. Non-movement symptoms can impact mental health, thinking changes, digestive and sensory issues.