Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
The diagnosis of PD depends upon the presence of one or more of the four most common motor symptoms of the disease. In addition, there are other secondary and non-motor symptoms that affect many people and are increasingly recognized by doctors as important to treating Parkinson’s. Each person with Parkinson's will experience symptoms differently. For example, many people experience tremor as their primary symptom, while others may not have tremors, but may have problems with balance. Also, for some people the disease progresses quickly, and in others it does not.
By definition, Parkinson’s is a progressive disease. Although some people with Parkinson’s only have symptoms on one side of the body for many years, eventually the symptoms begin on the other side. Symptoms on the other side of the body often do not become as severe as symptoms on the initial side. Find out more by reading detailed descriptions of Parkinson's symptoms below:
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).
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.
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.
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.
Has your handwriting suddenly gotten much smaller than in it was in the past? You may notice the way you write words on a page has changed, such as letter sizes are smaller and the words are crowded together. A sudden change in handwriting is often a sign of Parkinson's disease. Sometimes writing can change as you get older, if you have stiff hands or fingers or poor vision, but this happens over time and not suddenly.
Do you thrash around in bed or kick and punch while you are deeply asleep? You might notice that you started falling out of bed while asleep. Sometimes, your spouse will notice, or will want to move to another bed. Sudden movements during sleep may be a sign of Parkinson's disease.
See your doctor if you have any of the symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease — not only to diagnose your condition but also to rule out other causes for your symptoms.