Barbara Fradkin – Hometown News

Q:  I was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Now what?

A:  You are not alone; there are approximately 5,000 people in Brevard County with Parkinson’s disease, which is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation estimates 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with PD annually. About 4% of people are diagnosed before age 50 and it is more prevalent in men.

Diagnosing Parkinson’s is not always easy, but here are 10 warning signs. If you have multiple symptoms, talk with your doctor.

  • Tremors– Does your finger, thumb, hand or chin lightly shake while at rest?
  • Small handwriting– Has your handwriting recently become small or cramped?
  • Loss of smell– Are you having trouble smelling foods like bananas, dill pickles or licorice?
  • Trouble sleeping– Is your sleep very restless –with sudden movements while dreaming?
  • Trouble moving or walking– Are your legs, arms or body stiff? Do your arms still swing when you walk?
  • Constipation– Are bowel movements a problem, even with sufficient water and a fiber-rich diet?
  • Soft or low voice– Have others mentioned you sound quiet or hoarse?
  • Masked face– Is your resting facial expression more serious, depressed or angry?
  • Dizziness or fainting– Are you dizzy when you stand up?
  • Stooping or hunching over– Has your posture changed?

Management of Parkinson’s can be complicated, including challenges in diagnosis, medications, hospitalization, nutrition and exercise. Great information is available at and While there is no cure, there is help and hope.

There is so much I can write about Parkinson’s disease, but my word limit is at an end. Give me a call at One Senior Place (321-751-6771) where I am a co-facilitator of the Parkinson Support Group. And consider joining the Brevard Parkinson’s Alliance on Thursday, November 3rd from 11 AM to 2 PM for a Parkinson’s Educational Symposium at the Center for Collaboration on U.S. 1 in Rockledge.


One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging at Barbara Fradkin is a Social Worker, Certified Care Manager and the Director of One Senior Place, Viera.