How Parkinson’s disease in farmers is caused and how it can be cured is not yet known. But the reasons for its causes have been sneaking in fields for quite some time now.
“Agricultural workers and farmers are more vulnerable to PD” according to some recent data collection and researches. And guess what is to blame? It’s Paraquat that has been banned in over 32 countries on account of its high toxicity.
Syngenta ‒ a leading agriculture company still continues to sell it in over one hundred countries under the brand name ‘Gramoxone’.
Medical as well as research studies have proven that not only farmers and agricultural laborers are more at risk for exposure but those who live near industrial farms also poses risk to Paraquat exposure.
There’s even Paraquat Parkinson Lawsuit that can be filed by anyone who has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease due to paraquat exposure. Parkinson’s lawyers can help the exposed farmers with financial and medical compensation.
Working on farms with Parkinson’s disease isn’t really easy. Fatigue, stiffness, and other physical changes can prevent you from concentrating while working. Difficulty in maintaining balance makes it even harder to stand or sit.
Nausea, headache, restlessness, dizziness, and frequent fainting can also hinder productivity while working in fields. The disease leads to long-term damage including impaired lung function, skin disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Though the early signs of Parkinson’s disease can be ignored easily as they occur infrequently. However, it may be time to visit a doctor if you are noticing these symptoms repeatedly.
1| Trouble in Sleeping
Up to half of the farmers who are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease have sleep disorders. Researchers believe that trouble in sleep could be one of the earliest signs of Parkinson’s problem.
PD affects sleep patterns in different ways to different people.
- Insomnia– Difficulty in sleeping
- Vivid dreams– Hallucinations or delusions
- Fragmented sleep– Disturbed sleep
- Excessive daytime sleep– Finding it hard to stay awake during the daytime
2| Trouble moving or walking
Many farmers confirmed that stiffness or pain in the shoulders and hips were the earliest signs of their Parkinson’s disease. The moments become slow which makes even the simple tasks on the farm difficult and time-consuming.
People with PD also have trouble regulating the speed or size of their movements. Movements are either hypokinetic (too small) or bradykinetic (too slow).
Some walking-related signs are:
- Smaller steps
- Slower speed
- Trouble turning
- Lessor absent arm swing
3| Damage to the skin
A person suffering Parkinson’s disease due to excessive exposure to Paraquat may witness damage to the skin including:
- Redness all over the body
- Blisters on back or arms
- Severe burns on arms or face
- Skin infection
- Deep cuts on arms or legs
According to healthcare professionals, tremor is one of the first few warning signs of PD that people often ignore. During the initial stage of Parkinson’s disease, a little shaking of hands or foot and twitching can be noticed.
As the disease progresses to more advanced stages, twitching and shaking worsen and it becomes hard to control them.
5| Loss of Smell
A reduced sense of smell, called Hyposmia, is often an early warning sign of Parkinson’s disease. The decreased sense of smell is so common that as many as 75% of farmers diagnosed with PD experience it.
Enjoyment from smelling and tasting the food diminishes during the early stages. You may find yourself losing or gaining weight as the disease progresses due to its effect on your appetite.
6| Changes in Voice
Parkinson’s disease affects your voice and speaking pattern as well. Raspy, strained, or breathy voice is noticed during the early stage of PD along with a low voice tone.
Mumbling or frequent changes in the rhythm or speed of the voice is commonly experienced during the advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease.
7| Dizziness or Fainting
The feeling of drowsiness and fainting can also be warning signs of the early stages of Parkinson’s disease. A person suffering from Parkinson’s disease will pass out on a regular basis.
Some other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are-
- Lack of facial expression
- Trouble writing
- Depression and Anxiety
- Chewing or swallowing problems
- Pain, lack of interest, and fatigue
- Memory problems
- Low blood pressure
How can farmers prevent Parkinson’s disease?
Some reports confirmed that those whose livelihood depends on repelling pests have an increased risk for Parkinson’s disease. Farmers and agricultural workers should limit exposure to high-risk pesticides like Paraquat and avoid riskier compounds. They can wear masks while working on fields, clean up spills, and wash their hands vigorously.
And if any of these warning signs are witnessed, see your doctor immediately. PD treatment is more successful when the disease is caught in the earliest stage.