Doing This With Your Fingers May Be an Early Parkinson's Sign, Says Mayo Clinic

Don't miss this telltale sign of Parkinson's disease.

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects motor coordination. And while the symptoms of PD can become debilitating for certain patients, they often begin gradually, with only subtle signs that something is amiss. That's exactly why knowing the signs of Parkinson's is so essential. By recognizing certain symptoms that can easily fly under the radar, you can develop a treatment plan that will preserve your quality of life in a timely manner. Read on to find out which symptom of Parkinson's you can't afford to miss and what to do if you notice this red flag.

RELATED: If You Notice This When You Walk, It Could Be an Early Sign of Parkinson's.

A "pill-rolling tremor" in your fingers may be an early sign of Parkinson's.

make snapping his fingers

Roughly 70 percent of people with Parkinson's will experience a tremor over the course of their disease, according to the Parkinson's Foundation; for many of those individuals, the tremor will begin in the hands or fingers. In particular, many PD patients may notice a symptom known as a "pill-rolling tremor," the Mayo Clinic reports. "You may rub your thumb and forefinger back and forth" as though rolling a pill between them, their experts explain.

The American Parkinson's Disease Association (APDA) adds that this is frequently the first noticed symptom of PD. "This is most often the part of the body where tremors will begin," the APDA warns.

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You may also experience tremors in other parts of the body.

older man holding wrist and a glass of water demonstrating parkinson's tremor
Shutterstock/Astrid Gast

Tremors are one of the most common PD symptoms, and besides the hands and fingers, "it can also appear in other parts of the body, including the lower lip, jaw or leg," according to the Parkinson's Foundation. These tremors can impair motor coordination and make everyday activities, such as dressing, shaving, and eating, a challenge for PD patients. However, there's one silver lining for those who suffer from the symptom: "People with resting tremor usually have a more slowly progressing course of illness than people without tremor," the Parkinson's Foundation explains.

Parkinson's tremors typically affect just one side of the body, especially early in the course of the disease. However, over time, both sides may become affected.

Tremors are just one of many symptoms that may indicate Parkinson's disease.

Worried senior man sitting on sofa at home and touching his back. Elderly man suffering lumbar spine.

In addition to tremors, there are several other symptoms to look out for if you suspect PD. According to the Mayo Clinic, many patients experience slowed movement, rigid muscles, impaired balance, poor posture, and a decreased ability to perform unconscious movements, like swinging your arms while you walk. Additionally, PD patients often notice changes to their speech, including speaking more softly, speaking in monotone, developing a slur, or hesitating before speaking. Finally, some people with Parkinson's find that their handwriting changes—it may become increasingly difficult to write, and your handwriting may become smaller over time.

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Though there's no cure for PD, early diagnosis is still essential.

A senior woman listens as a female doctor gives a diagnosis. The doctor and patient are both wearing protective face masks as the patient is visiting the doctor's office during the COVID-19 crisis.

While unfortunately there is currently no cure for Parkinson's that reverses the course of the disease, the Parkinson's Foundation points out that there are many ways to treat symptoms. These may include a combination of medication, lifestyle interventions, and in some cases neurosurgery, which can be effective in reducing tremors. Reaching a diagnosis early and finding the right treatment plan for your symptoms can have a significant impact on quality of life. If you believe you may be experiencing symptoms of Parkinson's disease, contact a healthcare provider as soon as possible.

RELATED: 96 Percent of People With Parkinson's Have This in Common, Study Says.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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