The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Be Alert to These 5 Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease -- Especially Among African Americans

Muhammad Ali and Michael J. Fox

First of all, Parkinson's disease is not a white man's disease. Anyone can get it. One of the most high-profile African Americans with Parkinson's is heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali who was diagnosed in 1984 at the age of 42. In addition, African Americans with Parkinson's suffer greater disability and more severe cases of the disease than whites. Why? They often ignore the symptoms.

Ignoring symptoms

In a study at the University of Maryland, researchers found that, while blacks may be less likely to develop Parkinson's, they are more likely to be undiagnosed with the disease. Many of the symptoms may be brushed off as just signs of old age, leading to treatment delays among black patients. There is a critical need for African Americans to pay more attention to symptoms that may be associated with Parkinson's, such as these 5.
  1. Slurring speech - one common sign of Parkinson's is the inability to speak clearly, even slurring one's speech.
  2. Trembling hands and fingers - even when the hands and fingers are not in action, trembling may occur.
  3. Muscle stiffness and pain - these symptoms often lead to patients having difficulty with everyday tasks like getting out of bed in the morning.
  4. Dry skin - this is also one of the signs of Parkinson's, including dry, rough skin and dandruff.
  5. Loss of facial and body gestures - patients often lose their ability to show emotions like smiling, blinking and moving their hands and arms to gesture.

If you or someone you know has any or all of these symptoms, it may be more than just old age. See a doctor immediately.

To read more, visit www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/parkinsons-disease/basics/symptoms/con-20028488
DISCLAIMER: The content or opinions expressed on this web site are not to be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or medical practitioner before utilizing any suggestions on this web site.
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