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Shortness of breath “could indicate” early signs of Parkinson’s disease, say experts

Changes in the way you breathe, such as shortness of breath and shallow breathing, could be an early sign of Parkinson’s disease, experts have warned.

The symptom – which may be confused with a symptom of the coronavirus – forms one of the major indicators of the disease which progressively damages the brain over a period of time.

According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, shortness of breath could be attributed to respiratory dyskinesia, anxiety, or aspiration pneumonia, which are all associated with the disease.

“Some people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) may experience shortness of breath. There is no clear cause underlying respiratory dysfunction in PD, its frequency or the effect that medications have on respiration,” says the Foundation.

Shortness of breathing may be accompanied by a number of other early indicators, the charity warns. These include tremors (a slight shaking) in your finger, thumb, hand, or chin, smaller handwriting, loss of smell, trouble sleeping, trouble moving or walking, dizziness or fainting, or poor posture.

“It can be hard to tell if you or a loved one has Parkinson’s disease (PD),” said the Foundation.

“No single one of these signs means that you should worry, but if you have more than one sign you should consider making an appointment to talk to your doctor.”

According to the latest statistics, around one in 500 people are affected by Parkinson’s disease in the UK. There is currently no cure, but early and effective treatments could delay the progression of the disease and significantly improve the quality of life for those living with Parkinson’s.

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