Her right hand was affected—Jill watched in confusion as her once-neat handwriting at times became difficult to read, and she began to notice an occasional tremor in the hand as well.
“It was like the strength just left my hand. Completing anything involving fine motor skills became difficult, sometimes impossible,” Jill said. “That’s when I knew something was off.”
Armed with a physician referral from a close friend, Jill met with Cara Jacob, MD, UC Health neurologist at West Chester Hospital and assistant professor of neurology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.
At age 53, Jill Ford was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that may cause tremors, slowed movement, stiffness and changes to walking, among other symptoms.
Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s each year, and nearly one million people in the U.S. are living with the disease, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation.
Parkinson’s is caused by a loss of nerve cells in the brain which produce dopamine. While there is currently no cure, the disease can be treated with a wide array of options. For Jill, a low dose of medication worked; her symptoms rarely ever show.