Parkinson’s disease warning – does your voice sound like this? How to reveal your risk
Parkinson’s disease is a condition that causes the brain to become progressively more damaged over time, said the NHS. You could be at risk of the neurodegenerative condition if your voice has changed over time.
Parkinson’s is caused by a loss of nerve cells in a specific part of the brain.
These nerve cells are used to help send messages between the brain and the nervous system.
Parkinson’s disease symptoms tend to develop gradually, and only appear as mild at first.
One of the more common early signs of the condition is finding that your voice has slowly changed over a period of time.
Many Parkinson’s patients develop a softer voice, according to charity The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
Others will find that they become more breathy, and speak slower.
The condition may even affect the average volume of a patient’s voice, or the tone of their speech.
If you notice any small changes to your voice, it may be worth speaking to a doctor.
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“In addition to the classic motor symptoms of Parkinson’s, a person may develop changes in speech and/or swallowing,” said the charity.
“Although these problems can occur at any time in the course of Parkinson’s, they are more common as disease progresses.
“Parkinson’s disease can affect the volume, tone, rhythm and/or rate of speech.
“Many people will speak softer and convey less emotion. Words can be slurred [dysarthria] or mumbled, and speech may trail off at the ends of sentences.
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“Some people speak more slowly, or with a breathy or hoarse quality, but a few will talk rapidly, even stammering or stuttering in a pattern known as ‘tachyphemia’.”
Other common signs of Parkinson’s disease include tremors, slow movement, and muscle stiffness.
The muscle stiffness make make facial expressions more difficult, said the charity.
Tremors usually start in the hand or the arm, and are more likely to occur when the arm is relaxed.
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Speak to a GP if you’re worried about the signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, said the NHS.
They may ask you about your symptoms, and could refer you to a specialist for further tests.
There are about 127,000 people in the UK with Parkinson’s disease – the equivalent to about one in 500 people.
Most patients begin to develop symptoms after they turn 50 years old. Men are slightly more likely to develop the brain condition than women.
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