Parkinson’s disease, its full name, is a condition that affects the brain and nervous system. It typically begins on one side of the body and can go on to affect both sides.
Around one in 500 people have it, according to the NHS, which means it affects an estimated 127,000 people in the UK.
There are many potential symptoms but the most common signs relate to the movement of the body. Bupa outlines four to watch out for.
The first is shaking (muscle tremor). Usually one of the first symptoms, it explains: “It often starts in your hand – it can sometimes look like you’re rolling a marble or pill between your thumb and forefinger. It could instead start in your wrist or forearm.
“The tremor may worsen and start to affect other parts of your body. The shaking is most obvious when you’re at rest, is reduced when you’re moving, and stops when you’re asleep.”
The second sign is rigidity. The health organisation states this is where you find it difficult to move your limbs.
It adds: “You may also move your muscles with slight hesitations.”
Slow movements are also common. It says: “Parkinson’s disease can cause your body’s movements to slow down.
“You may be slow to start muscles movements, and find that repeated motions – like knocking on a door – become slower.”
The final most common sign is problems with walking and balance.
It explains: “You might walk slowly or with a shuffle, become stooped, and be prone to falls.
“You may have difficulty turning in bed or getting out of a chair.”
Other symptoms that aren’t related to movement can also develop
Mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, memory loss, difficulty reasoning, and (in the later stages) dementia is one non-movement sign.
Others include bowel and bladder problems, such as constipation and the need to urinate often, problems with swallowing, which can lead to increased saliva and drooling, sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction (in men) and low libido (in women), and low blood pressure, causing dizziness when you stand up.
Other indicators not related to movement are increased sweating, and exhaustion, tiredness and problems sleeping.
Scientists said consuming parvalbumim – a protein found in several fish species including cod – could be a “simple way” to halt the degenerative brain disease.
And the finding could also help sufferers of other incurable neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, ALS and Huntington’s disease.
The study published in April on the protein reveals it “scavenges” another protein that is believed to cause the as yet incurable condition that killed boxing legend Muhammad Ali.