Early Subtle Signs of Parkinson’s You Could Have In Your 30s

Parkinson’s disease occurs when the neurons in the basal ganglia area of the brain become impaired or die. When this happens, the brain’s dopamine and norepinephrine production slows, resulting in movement problems and other issues. Though it’s only thought to affect older people, this isn’t the case. Several early signs of Parkinson’s could begin in your 30s, even if you aren’t aware of them.

Parkinson’s has no known cause, though it may be the result of genetic mutations and environmental factors. The symptoms are often associated with other medical issues, so may not be linked to the disease until they progress. Let’s take a look at what the early stages of Parkinson’s include. Be advised that the following information is for educational purposes only and doesn’t overrule the advice of a physician.

Elderly woman with early signs of parkinson's painting a drawing.

Subtle Early Signs of Parkinson’s

There are two types of symptoms that an individual could experience with Parkinson’s. These include motor symptoms and non-motor symptoms. These symptoms can be subtle, which is why they go unnoticed for so long in the early stages.

Though the motor symptoms usually draw attention to the disease, the non-motor symptoms often appear first. These early signs of Parkinson’s are often ignored or thought to be related to other medical or lifestyle issues.

Non-motor symptoms can include anxiety, depression, speech problems, fatigue, loss of smell, and sleep issues. Incontinence, constipation, and erectile dysfunction are also possible symptoms of Parkinson’s. Such non-motor symptoms may occur years before any of the motor symptoms and can be mild enough to go unnoticed.

The non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s are more commonly associated with the disease. They are usually noticed first, even if the non-motor symptoms occurred earlier. These symptoms can include muscle rigidity, instability, slowed movements, and tremors.

Difficult To Diagnose

Parkinson’s is difficult to diagnose during the early stages for a few reasons. The symptoms vary, and not everyone experiences the same type or severity. The early signs of Parkinson’s are also associated with several other medical conditions, so can be misdiagnosed for years. There is no definitive test for this disease, so specialists must focus on medical history and the symptoms to make a diagnosis.

Can you have Parkinson’s for years without knowing it?

Yes, you can have Parkinson’s disease for years without knowing it. Many early signs of Parkinson’s are subtle, so they go unnoticed long before the disease is identified. Several of the symptoms are associated with other medical issues, so could be misdiagnosed.

For instance, anxiety and depression can be related to financial, familial, or other medical problems. Fatigue can be caused by lifestyle factors, like lack of sleep or physical activity. It is also linked to medical conditions like cancer, diabetes, or heart disease. Erectile dysfunction can be the result of stress, mental health issues, obesity, or high blood pressure.

Experiencing only one or two mild non-motor symptoms may not be noticeable for several years until the motor symptoms occur. If you suspect you have Parkinson’s, make notes of your symptoms, when they occur, and the severity to aid your doctor in a diagnosis.

This article contains informational and educational materials and does not replace health or medical advice. For questions or concerns regarding your medical condition or health objectives, speak to a qualified physician or healthcare provider.