Symptoms of Parkinson's

Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease vary from person to person and change over time.

People are generally most familiar with the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, as they are the most evident signs of the disease from the outside. But there is also a number of non-motor symptoms that can sometimes have a major impact on people.

Parkinson's Symptoms

Image sourced from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

Motor Symptoms of Parkinson’s

Slowed movement (bradykinesia) – Over time, Parkinson’s disease may reduce your ability to move and slow your movement

Rigid muscles – stiff muscles can limit your range of motion and cause you pain

Resting tremor – A tremor, or shaking, usually begins in a limb, often your hand or fingers.

Posture and balance – Your posture may become stooped, or you may have balance problems

Gait Problems –  Gait issues such as freezing, shuffling, drooped shoulders and lack of arm swing.  Learn more about Gait and Balance >>

Facial Expressions – People with Parkinson’s often have reduced facial expression referred to as masking

Non-Motor Symptoms of Parkinson’s 

Cognitive impairment – This can range from mild memory difficulties such as thinking quickly, manage multiple tasks to dementia. Learn more about Cognition >>

Depression & Anxiety – This is not simply a reaction to the diagnosis of Parkinson’s, but is instead a part of the disease itself, caused by changes in the chemistry of the brain. Learn more about depression and anxiety >>

Sleep difficulties, such as REM Sleep Disorder, Restless Legs Syndrome. Learn More about Sleep Disorders >>

Smell – Loss of sense of smell generally presents prior to any other symptoms appear. Learn more about Smell Loss >>

Constipation – Could experience reduced movements or difficulty in passing

Speech – Most commonly, the voice becomes quieter. It can also develop a breathy or hoarse quality. Learn about Speech Programs >>

Swallowing problems – the slowness of movement that often comes with PD may affect chewing, biting, the ability to work the tongue and the ability to get food or liquid down in one bite. Learn More about Swallowing Issues >>

Writing problems – your writing may appear small.

Vision – Some vision difficulties are related to changes in the movement of the eyeball caused by loss of dopamine neurons. Learn more about Vision >>

Apathy and Fatigue – Apathy causes a general lack of motivation and interest, as well as a dampening of emotional expression. Learn more about Apathy >>.

Parkinson’s symptoms affect everyone differently. Many people will experience some symptoms and not others. The progression of the disease also varies between people.

Parkinson's - It's more than just the shakes

Other Related Conditions


Dyskinesia is uncontrolled, involuntary movement that may occur with long-term levodopa use and longer time with Parkinson’s. Not everyone will develop this complication, and the experience of dyskinesia varies. Learn More about Dyskinesia >>



Dystonia is characterised by painful, prolonged muscle contractions that cause involuntary repetitive twisting and sustained muscle contractions. These result in abnormal movements and postures. Learn more about Dystonia >>


Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a form of dementia, which is a broad term for a disease of memory, thinking and/or social abilities that are severe enough to interfere with everyday activities. LBD is also a form of Parkinsonism, meaning that it causes some or all of the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (tremor, stiffness, slowness, and walking/balance problems). Learn More about Lewy Body Dementia >>



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