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Symptoms of Parkinson’s Listed and Explained

Identifying Parkinson's disease symptoms is the first step to getting treatment. Learn how to identify the early symptoms of Parkinson's and what to do next.

Parkinson’s disease symptoms can occur at any time, though the condition is usually found in adults over the age of 65. Although it can be scary to notice signs of Parkinson's in yourself or a loved one, it’s important to act on early signs of the disease so you can take the appropriate steps toward treatment of Parkinson's disease. Getting older comes with many health challenges. However, knowing how to recognize the symptoms of Parkinson's disease is vital in taking charge of your wellbeing.

Early Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms  

In the case of Parkinson’s disease, first symptoms can be different for everyone. Some people usually live for years without realizing they have the condition, while others notice a change in motor symptoms straight away.

Early signs of Parkinson's disease include:

Slow movement: If you notice that you or a loved one is moving more slowly than usual, rest assured that this could be a normal sign of aging. However, if you're finding it difficult to even get out of a chair, it's worth seeing a doctor – particularly if you have other Parkinson's disease symptoms. Limb stiffness can also occur in the early stages of the condition.

Tremors: Tremors are usually the first symptom people with Parkinson's disease notice. Shaking usually begins in hands, fingers or limbs, typically on one side. This is often first noticed by a change in handwriting known as micrographia. Uncontrollable movement can also occur during sleep ("Parkinson’s Disease Effects on the Body? Tremor, Motor Symptoms").

Speech changes: People with Parkinson’s disease report changes to their speech as one of the first notable signs. If you notice speech or voice changes in yourself or a loved one, it’s important to speak to your doctor to check for other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Rigid facial expressions: Because of the way it affects gross motor skills, Parkinson's disease can also change your facial expressions, making it difficult for you to control the muscles in your face. People may comment that you have a "blank stare" or look serious.

Many Parkinson's disease symptoms are mild in the early stages ("Relationship Between Parkinson’s Disease and Loss of Smell"). As a result, the condition often goes unnoticed. If you spot any of the above changes to your normal movement or activity, it's important to see your doctor – not only to diagnose Parkinson's disease and treat your condition but also to rule out any other causes.

Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia: What’s the Link?

Many people worry when they notice the onset of Parkinson’s symptoms. One of their main concerns is a condition called Parkinson’s disease dementia, which is marked by a decline in thinking, reasoning and problem-solving. Around 50-80 percent of people with Parkinson's will go on to experience Parkinson's disease dementia.  

Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease dementia include:

  • Confusion
  • Delusions
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Forgetfulness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Mood swings
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Increased depression and anxiety

What to Do If You Notice Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms

If you experience Parkinson’s disease motor symptoms or symptoms of Parkinson’s disease dementia, you should seek advice from your doctor. It's also a good idea to keep a record of your symptoms; that way, your medical team will get a full view of your condition. If you're caring for a loved one with Parkinson's or Parkinson's disease dementia, it would be helpful to keep a journal for them.

Parkinson's is a progressive disease, so the symptoms will not go away. However, with the right combination of medication and physical therapy, you can limit the effect Parkinson’s has on your life. If you're struggling with your Parkinson's disease symptoms, you can contact the National Parkinson's Foundation Helpline on 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636) for support and advice.

article references

APA Reference
Smith, E. (2020, February 9). Symptoms of Parkinson’s Listed and Explained, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, November 25 from https://www.healthyplace.com/parkinsons-disease/symptoms/symptoms-of-parkinsons-listed-and-explained

Last Updated: February 18, 2020

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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