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This early symptom of Parkinson’s is very little known

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Parkinson’s disease is a type of condition in which parts of the brain progressively deteriorate over many years. This disorder is generally associated with movement problems. But it is claimed that it also affects the olfactory bulb, which in turn causes a loss of smell and this could be an early warning sign.

The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are primarily related to movement, because they cause a loss of nerve cells in the part of the brain responsible for producing a chemical called dopamine

Dopamine plays the role of messenger between the brain and the nervous system that helps control and coordinate body movements. If these cells die or are damaged, the amount of this neurotransmitter is reduced.

For the most part, people diagnosed with Parkinson mention changes in their sense of smell, which they realize several years before developing other problems related to this disorder.

However, patients sometimes do not recognize their ability to smell is not good. At the same time, up to 90% of Parkinson’s patients lose their sense of smell.

In fact, reduced perception of odors, called hyposmia, is often an early sign of Parkinson’s.

Hyposmia is an underrecognized symptom, as doctors typically don’t care about this indicator and don’t even ask their patients if they had it, reports the Parkinson’s Foundation. Their website advises that if someone has trouble smelling foods like bananas, pickled cucumbers, or licorice, they need to see a specialist about Parkinson’s disease.

There is no treatment for the loss of the sense of smell. However, reduced ability to smell can affect appetite, since taste is linked to the perception of odors, it is alerted on the same page.

Studies reveal that the stage prior to the onset of motor symptoms lasts approximately five years or more. It is estimated that in some cases the loss of smell can be detected up to 10 years before Parkinson’s is diagnosed. 

Therefore, it is considered that the detection of the smell problem with the use of reliable tests, before the corresponding motor symptoms appear, could help in the early identification of Parkinson’s, even among people at higher risk of developing it condition.

Experts still do not know for sure why this disease affects the sense of smell. According to one theory, the Parkinson’s process could begin in the olfactory bulb, the part of the brain that controls smell, as well as in the gut. 

Clusters of the alpha-synuclein protein may first form in these parts of the body, before migrating to other areas of the brain, some scientists think.

At the same time, scientists emphasize that loss of smell does not necessarily mean that a person has Parkinson’s disease, but everyone who does suffer from it loses their sense of smell.

Other symptoms of Parkinson’s include tight handwriting, tremors, uncontrollable movements during sleep, stiff limbs or slow movements, voice changes and an immobile or masking facial expression, it is indicated on the foundation’s website.

It is also not known why the loss of nerve cells associated with Parkinson’s disease occurs, although research is being done to identify possible causes. However, it is currently believed that a combination of genetic changes and environmental factors could cause this condition.

It is estimated that a very small number of people may have an increased risk of Parkinson’s linked to their genes, explains the Parkinson’s UK portal.

In November 2020, the American Parkinson’s Disease Association discovered that one of the main early symptoms of this neurodegenerative condition can be excessive sweating.

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