Parkinson’s disease: Sign in writing could mean you're at risk – do you write like this?

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Parkinson’s disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in part of the brain which leads to a reduction in a chemical called dopamine in the brain. This is often why a person with Parkinson’s disease will experience mood disorders including depression and anxiety. The cause of Parkinson’s is unknown and unfortunately there is no cure for the disease. As the disease worsens a person’s speech and walking is completely affected and it is important to try and spot the signs early on. Early signs of Parkinson’s disease include tremors, stiffness and slowness of movement.

Everyone experiences different types of symptoms but one should be vigilant of the order in which they appear and the way symptoms progress.

The way that a person writes could be an indicator of early Parkinson’s.

When there is a cramped handwriting, known as micrographia, or when there is a sudden change in the size of the writing it could be a sign of early Parkinson’s disease.

People with Parkinson’s disease have difficulty with controlling movement because of the changes in the brain. This can make fine motor skills, like writing, much more difficult.

Parkinson’s patients often have handwriting that looks cramped and small. The individual letters tend to be smaller than normal and words are spaced closely.

A person with Parkinson’s disease may begin writing in a regular and normal way and then gradually start writing in a much smaller font.

This sign should alert family members or carers and further tests and doctors advice is recommended.

Other symptoms to look out for:

  • Rigid facial expression
  • Stooped posture
  • Tremors in fingers
  • Uncontrollable movements when sleeping
  • Changes in voice
  • Limb stiffness or slow movements

Being diagnosed with a long-term condition like Parkinson’s disease can put a major strain on family and friends.

“It is important to talk to people about the condition and ways to cope with the disease.

The NHS said: “Spouses, partners or carers will inevitably feel anxious or frustrated and you should be open about how you feel, and let your family and friends know what they can do to help.

“Do not feel shy about telling them you need some time to yourself, if that’s what you want.

“If you have any questions about your condition, your GP or Parkinson’s disease specialist nurse may be able to help.”

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