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Parkinson’s disease may start with a tremor in one hand but can also cause limb stiffness or slowness of movement without a tremor. In many cases, it’s difficult to recognize the signs that your loved one has Parkinson’s disease, as early symptoms can be mild. They may be showing signs of the disease, but you still may be unsure how to determine if they actually have the disease. People with Parkinson’s may also have mental and behavioral changes, depression, sleep problems, memory difficulties, and fatigue.

Although some cases of Parkinson’s appear to be hereditary, and some can be traced to specific genetic mutations, the disease may occur randomly and doesn’t seem to run in the family. Researchers believe that Parkinson’s results from a combination of genetic factors and environmental factors, such as exposure to toxins. 

What are the early signs of Parkinson’s disease? 

As stated by the Parkinson’s Foundation, Parkinson’s, is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects dopamine-producing neurons predominately in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra. 

Symptoms typically develop slowly over the years. Although there is no cure, there are treatments that vary and include medications and surgery. The disease isn’t fatal, but complications can be serious. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), complications from Parkinson’s are the 14th cause of death in the United States. The following are early symptoms of Parkinson’s: 

Tremors. Shaking or tremor typically begins in a limb, often a hand or finger.  You may rub your thumb and forefinger back and forth, known as a pill-rolling tremor, or your hand may tremble when it’s at rest. 

Cramped or small handwriting. It may be hard to write, and writing may appear smaller than usual since people who have PD have a hard time controlling movement because of the changes in the brain. 

Postural Instability. Impaired or lost reflexes can make it difficult to adjust posture to maintain balance. Postural instability may lead to falls. 

Bradykinesia. This condition refers to the slowness of voluntary movement, with it developing over time and making it difficult to initiate movement and complete movement. Bradykinesia, together with stiffness, can affect facial muscles. This may result in an expressionless, “mask-like” appearance. 

Parkinsonian gait. Individuals with more progressive Parkinson’s disease develop a distinctive shuffling walk with a stooped position and a diminished or absent arm swing. This may lead to difficulty when wanting to turn while walking, and individuals may freeze in mid-stride and appear to fall forward while walking. 

Although it is a movement disorder, Parkinson’s disease can bring about non-movement symptoms that include cognitive impairment, sleep disorders, depression, and constipation. 

What causes Parkinson’s disease?

The cause of Parkinson’s is still unknown, but researchers speculate that there are a few factors that play a role, including:

  • Genes: Researchers have found a specific genetic mutation that may cause Parkinson’s disease. However, these are uncommon except in rare cases with man family members affected by the disease.
  • Environmental triggers: exposure to toxins or environmental factors may increase the risk of later Parkinson’s disease. 

Paraquat and Parkinson’s disease

Studies have shown a correlation between exposure to Paraquat and the development of Parkinson’s disease. Paraquat is a fast-acting, non-selective contact weed killer known to be highly toxic. Even a small amount of ingestion can cause acute multiple organ failure that can be fatal.  Individuals can be subject to paraquat poisoning by:

  • Coming to close contact with the pesticide
  • Mixing, loading, applying paraquat 
  • Accidentally getting paraquat on skin or hair

In addition, a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2009 revealed that any exposure to paraquat within 1,600 feet of a home increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 75%. Despite the foreign ban in more than 32 countries, it seems that the use of Paraquat has skyrocketed in the United States since the country is trying to stir away from other pesticides, such as Roundup. This is due to weeds becoming more resistant to Roundup and paraquat being marketed as an alternative.  

Due to long-term low-dose exposure to Paraquat, other health risks include kidney disease, asthma, and scarring of the lungs. Those potentially exposed include:

  • Farmworkers and farm owners
  • Herbicide applicators
  • Any rural schoolchildren may have potentially been exposed due to their school being located adjacent to farms using Paraquat.
  • Any property owners that have housing adjacent to fields in which Parauqta was sprayed (potential exposure to drift, overspray, or runoff)

Is there a cure for Parkinson’s disease?

There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. The lack of a cure gives more reason to practice things that will prevent the disease when possible. Although there are medicines, surgical treatments, and other therapies to relieve symptoms, it is best practice to avoid the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, it makes it even more important to diminish the risks of you or someone you love developing the disease. 

What should you do if you’re considering a Paraquat Lawsuit?

With the rise of usage of paraquat on American crops, there is a probability of an increase of more farmworkers getting sick and developing Parkinson’s. Developing Parkinson’s and receiving treatment is difficult and costly to treat, with no cure. 

If you’re thinking about pursuing a paraquat lawsuit, here are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • There is a deadline to file toxic exposure lawsuits. Therefore, the sooner you report, the better. This allows the proper time to have an adequate investigation. 
  • You may be able to seek compensation for your damages, including lost wages, medical costs, pain and suffering, and any decline in your quality of life. 
  • Contact our office to speak to an experienced paraquat lawsuit attorney. We can help prove that exposure to the harmful herbicide caused you to develop Parkinson’s disease. 

Contact our office to see how we can help you out with your claim. During your free consultation, we can review your situation and advise on the best legal path forward. 

Here at The Carlson Law Firm, we can help

Caring for a loved one or coping with Parkinson’s Disease yourself can be scary, isolating, and confusing. If you or a loved one believes to have developed Parkinson’s disease after exposure to paraquat, call one of our offices today. We can schedule a free consultation and discuss your legal options. Here at The Carlson Law Firm, we believe it is important to hold negligent companies accountable. We care, and we can help. 

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