Parkinson’s disease: Facial masking an early warning sign – four body parts affected

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Parkinson’s disease is a progressive condition whereby the signals communicated between the brain and nervous system are disrupted. This causes a number of impairments, many of which relate to movement. The symptoms are often subtle at first but become quite pronounced as the condition advances. Occasionally there may be early warning signs of the condition not found in movement but in a condition known as facial masking. What is it?

When we think of muscles that can be affected by stiffness and slowness, the muscles people work out in the gym are probably the first to come to mind: legs, arms, maybe even abdominals.

But the same stiffness and slowness that can impact your walking and other activities can have more subtle impacts, as well.

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One of these is reduced facial expression, also called hypomimia or facial masking, said the Parkinson’s Foundation.

The health site added: “When the muscles of the face are stiff or take longer to move, it can be hard to crack a smile, raise your eyebrows or otherwise express your feelings using your face, which is an important part of how we communicate.

“People might assume you’re upset or depressed all the time, which can be frustrating.”

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Other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include:

  • Tremors
  • Slowed movement (bradykinesia)
  • Rigid muscles
  • Impaired posture and balance
  • Loss of automatic movements
  • Speech changes
  • Writing changes

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