Parkinson’s disease is a condition that causes the brain to become progressively more damaged over time, said the NHS. You could be at risk of the neurodegenerative condition if you realise that you’ve lost your sense of smell, it’s been revealed.
Parkinson’s is caused by a loss of nerve cells in a specific part of the brain.
These nerve cells are used to help send messages between the brain and the nervous system.
Parkinson’s disease symptoms tend to develop gradually, and only appear as mild at first.
One of the most common symptoms of Parkinson’s is a loss of sense of smell.
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“Not all people with reduced sense of smell will go on to develop Parkinson’s, but most people with PD have some loss of their sense of smell,” said the charity.
“In fact, reduced sense of smell, called hyposmia, is often an early sign of Parkinson’s.
“Hyposmia is an under-recognised symptom, as it is not a common concern for doctors to ask about or for patients to report.
“If you or someone you know has trouble smelling foods like bananas, dill pickles or liquorice, ask your doctor about Parkinson’s.”
Losing your sense of smell isn’t usually caused by anything serious, and may get better by itself within a few weeks, added the NHS.
It could, however, be caused by a coronavirus infection, and anybody that notices a change to their sense of smell or taste should self-isolate at home.
It could also be caused by a cold, allergies, sinusitis, or even nasal polyps.
Hyposmia is more common as you get older, and can be treated with some medications.
Other common signs of Parkinson’s disease include tremors, slow movement, and muscle stiffness.
The muscle stiffness makes facial expressions more difficult, said the charity.
Tremors usually start in the hand or the arm, and are more likely to occur when the arm is relaxed.
There are about 127,000 people in the UK with Parkinson’s disease – the equivalent to about one in 500 people.