Before the classic movement problems of Parkinson’s disease appear, more benign-seeming symptoms — such as anxiety and drooling — may occur, according to a new study in the journal Neurology.
“These results show that Parkinson’s affects many systems in the body, even in its earliest stages,” study researcher Tien K. Khoo, Ph.D., of the UK’s Newcastle University, said in a statement. “Often these symptoms affect people’s quality of life just as much if not more than the movement problems that come with the disease. Both doctors and patients need to bring these symptoms up and consider available treatments.”
For the study, researchers asked 159 people who had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s — as well as 99 age-matched people without Parkinson’s — to report whether they’d experienced any of 30 potential non-motor symptoms. These issues ranged from problems sleeping, to digestive issues, to sexual problems.
Researchers found that the people who had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s experience an average of eight of these problems, while those without Parkinson’s experienced an average of three problems.