Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement by altering nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine. It develops gradually, and its symptoms worsen as a patient’s condition progresses over time. You should see a doctor if you have any of the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s.
Young adults rarely experience a Parkinson’s diagnosis. The disease generally presents in middle or later life, the risk increasing with age. Men are more likely to develop Parkinson’s than women.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s Disease symptoms vary from person to person and they change as the patient ages and the disease progresses. Early signs can be mild and even go unnoticed. Symptoms often begin on one side of the body and remain worse on that initially affected side, even after both sides begin to suffer. The disease causes motor symptoms and non-motor symptoms, the most common symptom of all being tremors.
- A tremor, or shaking, usually begins in a limb, often your hand or fingers. You may notice a back-and-forth rubbing of your thumb and forefinger, known as a pill-rolling tremor. One characteristic of Parkinson’s disease is a tremor of your hand when it is relaxed (at rest).
- Slowed movement (bradykinesia).Over time, Parkinson’s disease may reduce your ability to move and slow your movement, making simple tasks difficult and time-consuming. Your steps may become shorter when you walk, or you may find it difficult to get out of a chair. Also, you may drag your feet as you try to walk, making it difficult to move.
- Rigid muscles.Muscle stiffness may occur in any part of your body. The stiff muscles can limit your range of motion and cause you pain.
- Impaired posture and balance.Your posture may become stooped, or you may have balance problems as a result of Parkinson’s disease.
- Loss of automatic movements.In Parkinson’s disease, you may have a decreased ability to perform unconscious movements, including blinking, smiling or swinging your arms when you walk.
- Speech changes.You may have speech problems as a result of Parkinson’s disease. You may speak softly, quickly, slur or hesitate before talking. Your speech may be more of a monotone rather than with the usual inflections.
- Writing changes.It may become hard to write, and your writing may appear small.
- Changes in gait.
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