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.
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
- 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
- Anxiety & Depression – 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.
- Sleep difficulties, such as REM Sleep Disorder
- Smell – Loss of sense of smell generally presents prior to any other symptoms appear
- 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
- 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
- Speech Problems – You may speak softly, quickly, slur or hesitate before talking.
- Writing problems – your writing may appear small.
- Vision – Some vision difficulties are related to changes in the movement of the eyeball caused by loss ofdopamine neurons.
Parkinson’s disease symptoms effects everyone differently. Many people will experience some symptoms and not others. The progression of the disease also varies between people.
Having trouble sharing your diagnosis with friends and family? Read this article on ‘Sharing your Diagnosis’.