10 Common Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson’s Disease is a disorder of your central nervous system. It results in nerve cell damage in your brain, and it causes your dopamine levels to drop. Therefore, it affects your movements and causes tremors. It is considered a common condition, with more than 200,000 cases diagnosed each year in the United States.
Medications can help manage your Parkinson's symptoms. However, as the disease and symptoms progress, you may have trouble walking, talking, or performing basic tasks.
Symptom 1: Hands Shake
Do your fingers and hands shake uncontrollably? No matter if you are resting or making deliberate movements.
If your hands shake, that is often the first symptom you notice something is wrong.
Symptom 2: Stiff Muscles
Do your muscles seem stiff? Rigid? Achy? More than usual? Usually, in your face, neck, legs, and arms? Are they less flexible?
According to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, to manage the stiffness, try moving more during the day, exercise regularly with yoga or weight lifting, and use heat to relax muscles.
Symptom 3: Loss of Balance
Do you have problems with your balance? Do you trip or fall? Parkinson’s Disease impacts your balance, and often causes you to fall.
You should take precautions around your home to prevent falls. For example, install grab bars in your bathroom, and remove throw rugs and cords that may trip you.
Symptom 4: Move Slower
Do you move slower than you used to? Slow body movements or slow shuffling gait can be due to Parkinson’s. The medical term for slowness of movement is bradykinesia.
According to ParkinsonsDisease.net, “PD damages many areas of the brain. Scientists believe that PD’s effects on the basal ganglia and the cortex of the brain cause bradykinesia. The basal ganglia are a group of neurons (nerve cells) located deep in the brain that process information on movement and play an important role in planning actions to achieve specific goals, such as using hands to catch a ball.”
Symptom 5: Trouble Writing
Has your handwriting changed? Does it seem cramped? Bigger or smaller than usual? It is difficult to hold a pen or pencil?
Parkinson’s Disease does impact fine motor skills, including writing.
Symptom 6: Tremors
With Parkinson’s Disease, tremors or trembling can happen with your hands, legs, and other body parts – jaw, chin, mouth, and tongue. Tremors can happen while at rest or awake.
According to the American Parkinson Disease Association, “A tremor is an involuntary quivering movement affecting 80% of people with Parkinson’s.”
Symptom 7: Difficult Body Movements
Do you have difficulty standing? Walking? With coordination? Regular body movements?
Parkinson’s Disease causes involuntary movements, muscle rigidity, and rhythmic muscle contractions.
Symptom 8: Sleep Issues
Those with Parkinson’s Disease often suffer from fatigue and sleepiness, especially during the daytime; waking up early; having nightmares; being restless: having to go to the bathroom; and other sleep disturbances.
Unfortunately, such sleep issues can affect your quality of life, as well as your overall mood and health.
Symptom 9: Dizziness
When you stand up after sitting or resting, do you suddenly feel dizzy?
Medications you take for Parkinson’s Disease impact your blood pressure, possibly causing you to feel dizzy.
Symptom 10: Cognitive Issues
Do you suffer from amnesia? Confusion? Dementia? Especially during the evening? Parkinson’s Disease can cause difficulty thinking and understanding.
According to the American Parkinson Disease Association, “Cognitive symptoms in Parkinson’s Disease are common, though not every person experiences them. Studies estimate that mild cognitive impairment occurs in about 20-50% of patients with PD.”