1. Parkinson’s Disease- What Your Writing Reveals

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    A neurological movement disorder- Parkinson’s disease gets worse over time. The earliest symptoms are sometimes overlooked, when many times the writing was on the wall. “The early indicators could be changes in facial expression, they call it a mood face or mast face. Changes in handwriting; very small and shaky handwriting,” says Lee Memorial Health System physical therapist Nathalie Grondin. “That’s often how it can be picked up.” Micrographia is the medical term for small handwriting. People with Parkinson’s disease may start forming normal-sized letters, but as they continue, the font gets smaller and cramped. That’s why a standard evaluation looks to see what your handwriting reveals. “i would say go ahead write your names three times in a row. Typically what happens is the first time they might do ok but with repetition it might get smaller,” demonstrates Grondin. The Unified Parkinson’s Disease rating scale scores several skills, including writing. “We score 0-4 whether the handwriting is normal, slightly slow or small. Moderately slow or small but the words are legible. Then finally the words would be severely affected, not all the words are legible. And majority of the words are not legible would be a 4,” says Grondin. Making writing even trickier are tremors, which also go hand-in-hand with Parkinson’s. “A lot of times Parkinson’s will manifest itself with a tremor. There’s a very specific type of tremor they call it a pill-rolling tremor. It typically will start in one hand.” Exercise and targeted therapies can slow progression and increase well-being. And reading the early warning signs gives people with Parkinson’s more options. View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/ Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Visit leememorial.org

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