Billy Connolly reveals he can’t yodel anymore due to Parkinson's
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As well as having an impact on movement, there are several other symptoms and signs you may notice. For example, some people with Parkinson’s will have slight memory problems and problems with activities that require planning and organisation. They may also experience depression and anxiety. You should see your GP if you’re concerned you may have symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Some of these signs can show up in a person’s voice.
The American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) notes that in addition to motor symptoms of Parkinson’s, “changes in the voice are commonly experienced”.
It says that these are generally, these are believed to be at least partly due to bradykinesia. Greek for “slow movement,” bradykinesia is a frequent symptom of Parkinson’s disease and related movement disorders.
The organisation states: “The voice may become softer, or it may start off strong and then fade away. There may be a loss of the normal variation in volume and emotion in the voice, so that the individual may speak in a monotone.
“In more advanced Parkinson’s, speaking may become rapid, with the words crowded together, or stuttering may occur.”
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The NHS notes: “A person with Parkinson’s disease can also experience a wide range of other physical and psychological symptoms.”
These may include balance problems which may increase the chances of a fall, loss of sense of smell and problems sleeping.
It’s thought around one in 500 people are affected by Parkinson’s disease, with Men being slightly more likely to get Parkinson’s disease than women.
The health body adds: “Most people with Parkinson’s start to develop symptoms when they’re over 50, although around one in 20 people with the condition first experience symptoms when they’re under 40.”
Parkinson’s UK says that around 145,000 people live with Parkinson’s in the UK, and that it is “the fastest growing neurological condition in the world”.
It explains that Parkinson’s develops when cells in the brain stop working properly and are lost over time. These brain cells produce a chemical called dopamine.
“Symptoms start to appear when the brain can’t make enough dopamine to control movement properly,” the charity says.
Researchers do not yet know exactly why people get Parkinson’s, but it is thought that a combination of age, genetic and environmental factors cause the dopamine-producing nerve cells to die.
Symptoms often begin on one side of the body or even in one limb on one side of the body.
“Many people with Parkinson’s note that prior to experiencing stiffness and tremor, they had sleep problems, constipation, decreased ability to smell, and restless legs,” according to the National Institute on Ageing.
The organisation adds: “Sometimes people dismiss early symptoms of Parkinson’s as the effects of normal aging.”
Although there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, early diagnosis is important so that patients can receive the proper treatment and advice regarding care.
Indeed, there are many different therapies and factors that can help in managing the condition, the NHS says.
For example, doing 2.5 hours of exercise a week can slow the progression of your symptoms, according to Parkinson’s UK.
Exercise can help you manage physical symptoms and other symptoms such as sleep problems, fatigue, mood and mental health, the charity says.
It adds: “Exercise can be as important as your medication to help you take control and manage your symptoms.”
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