Parkinson’s disease is one of many medical conditions that is eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. As a progressive disorder, the effects of Parkinson’s become worse over time. Its impact on the nervous systems causes a range of symptoms and effects, as described here.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s may start with seemingly minor occurrences, such as difficulty walking or making facial expressions. The voice can also be affected, which causes slurring or slowed speech. As symptoms become more severe, tremors typically occur. Parkinson’s also impacts your balance and coordination, causes muscle stiffness, and decreases automatic movements, including things like blinking and smiling. In later stages of the disease chewing and swallowing will be affected, which impacts nutrition. Mental and emotional effects may also occur.

Doctors have not determined an underlying cause of this disease. However, certain risk factors make the chance of diagnosis more likely. For example, most people with Parkinson’s are 60 or older. While younger people can develop the disease, it’s usually rare for them to do so. There are also possible genetic links, but only when many family members have also developed Parkinson’s. Prolonged exposure to certain toxins is also thought to increase risk. People are encouraged to visit a doctor when exhibiting any of the above symptoms of Parkinson’s so they can receive a quick diagnosis.

Upon diagnosis, your doctor will recommend a treatment. While there is no cure, there are medications and other therapies used to improve symptoms and slow their progression. Making certain lifestyle changes can also be beneficial. Research shows that a healthy diet and exercise benefits people with Parkinson’s greatly. Patients are also encouraged to seek out emotional support from loved ones and therapists.