Thinking About Parkinson’s Disease – Small Muscles
(This blog is my observations and opinions.
It is not intended as medical advice as I am not a doctor.
Please seek a medical professional’s advice).
Much like the advertising lingo, “There’s an app for that”—for Parkinson’s, “There’s a symptom for that.” The extra large symptom listings contain a malady for every organ, system, and limb. At least it feels that way. Observing my progression and that of fellow patients, symptoms seem to attack in groups like large muscles, limbs, ear-nose-throat, cognitive areas; even the topic of this blog, small muscles. The mix of onset, timing, and symptom strength provides a unique journey for every patient.
Loss of smell is usually the first indication of PD, but this loss progresses so slowly we never notice.
During a fishing trip four years before my diagnosis, I remember missing the fragrance of rain, pine trees, autumn, and flowers. Unfortunately there is no fix or therapy to repair the nose.
Other long-term Parkinson’s indicators usually diagnosed as part of another ailment include constipation and sleep disorders.
It’s the small muscle groups that announce Parkinson’s visible side — for example little finger tremor, thumb shaking, wrist twisting, and chin shiver. Parkinson’s has been progressing for several years by the time the first visible symptoms are revealed.
Note: Parkinson’s has resting tremors, and though movement reduces the shaking, stress will exaggerate the tremors.
Here is a list of small muscles that may be affected by Parkinson’s.
Hand/finger tremors – typically starts on one side of the body
Foot tremors/cramps – very painful
Handwriting – small letters, reduced word spacing, text drifts up to the right
Soft Voice – in patient’s head it sounds normal, but to others it is barely audile
Swallowing – an accommodation is to take smaller bites
Chin tremors – often triggered by heat or cold
Drooling – caused by a reduction of automatic swallowing
Masked face – often misinterpreted by others as staring or lack of interest
– Includes an absence of smiling or blinking
– Vision – dry eyed, blurry, difficulty focusing
– Patients have “forced” cartoonish smiles
Each patient has a unique menu of symptoms. Like a steak grilled rare, medium, or well done with choice of mashed potatoes, fries, or rice—Parkinson’s symptoms can have varying levels of discomfort—nuisance, ache, and agony with medication for the disease, symptoms, and drug side effects.
I suggest challenging the symptoms through exercise and therapy.
Here are some great sites for the recently diagnosed:
Comments are encouraged.
Check back for new Parkinson’s blogs.
Other blog categories you may be interested in are Fun Stuff, Writing, and Short Stories.