Am I experiencing symptoms of Parkinson's disease?

3 answers | Last updated: Sep 28, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mom has Parkinson's disease and I am scared that me my brother or sister could get it? My brother and I both shake like a tremor but don't think much of it because we don't think we could get it. But all the time my whole left leg will go numb and it makes it hard to move and it gets to the point to where it hurts then i cant feel it. Could this be a sign of it?

Expert Answers

Graham A. Glass, MD, is the deputy director of the San Francisco Parkinson's Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Care Center (PADRECC) and an assistant clinical professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He completed a fellowship in movement disorders at the Mayo Clinic.

The genetics of Parkinson's disease are not as well understood as we would like. Although you may be at a slightly higher risk of developing PD, as far as we know, fewer than 7-8 percent of cases of parkinson's disease are "monogenetic". Although I would refer you to a neurologist or a movement disorders specialist to fully evaluate your symptoms, leg numbness is not a typical early sign of Parkinson's disease.

Community Answers

Ladydawn answered...

First of all, there is a limited possibility that any person will develop Parkinson's disease. But there are between 5.5 and 7 million diagnosed PD patients worldwide.

That said, more is being learned about the disease origins and more is being learned about the genetics associated with at least 17% of PD cases. As more is learned about the environmental triggers or risk factors. the origins, the genetic mutations and the actual cause(s) of PD, more is also being learned about the precursor symptoms which can begin to occur years before diagnosis is made.

Were I having a problem with numbness in my leg, the first thing I would do is to check my posture at say the computer. Does work or whatever cause me to sit at a terminal or to sit in a car driving for long hours. Are there adjustments which should be made for several parts of my body?

The next thing I would consider is a trip to an orthopod or to a spinal specialist to rule out previous injury or a spine/nerve disorder. The next thing I would do is to begin a series of medical massage sessions. A good licensed therapist may be able to feel the problem and help your body work through its issues.

If I had tremors followed by numbness as symptoms, I would see a neurologist specializing in motion disorders. Especially whan a parent had PD. If nothing else, there could have been common exposures.

I've been very guilt-ridden about my failure to understand many symptoms which I now know were warning signs of my husband's developing PD. Nowhere could I find a list of these precursors. So we began compiling from what we knew:[]

We also asked the question of other patients and caregivers. Some PwPs at Patients Like Me reported numbenss as a symptom which occured way before the symptoms which preceded their diagnoses.[]

The area of PD precursor symptoms is wide open for study. I cannot stress the importance of the medical profession and the the general public knowing these symptoms so that a leg drag, loss of arm swing, loss of sense of smell is dismissed, misdiagnosed or ignored.

I will always wonder if there were something else we could have done, some treatment/therapy/diet/supplements we should have explored beginning at least 10 years before the diagnosis which was initiated by a very subtle tingling followed by slight tremor.

Doris hubbert answered...

Yes, see a neurologist as soon as possible. I was diagnosed with P.D. in August, 2001. As I began to look back over the last 12 years or so, I realized there were many symptoms. Dizziness, disoriented, off balance. Then not being able to focus or concenetrate. Then the tingling, burning sensation and then numbness in my left thigh. I saw a neurologist and he tried to find an answer for me, but at that time what I was experiencing was not associated with Parkinson's Disease. So, as the years went on and I had not been able to work since 1990, my fatique and weakness along with the other symptoms already mentioned, I developed a slight tremor in my right hand. Within a week My right arm and hand were going wild.I was carried to the ER, where I saw a very good neurologist, who diagnosed me with Parkinson's. I don't know if things would have been different if the doctors I saw years earlier had made the connection with P.D. and my symptoms.