At what age did Parkinson's symptoms first appear, and what are they?
Share your story with others:
MedicineNet appreciates your comment. Your comment may be displayed on the site and will always be published anonymously.
What are the symptoms of Parkinson's disease?
The primary symptoms of Parkinson's disease are all related to voluntary and
involuntary motor function and usually start on one side of the body. Symptoms
are mild at first and will progress over time. Some individuals are more
affected than others. Studies have shown that by the time that primary symptoms
appear, individuals with Parkinson's disease will have lost 60% to 80% or more of
the dopamine-producing cells in the brain. Characteristic motor symptoms include
Tremors: Trembling in fingers, hands, arms, feet, legs, jaw, or head.
most often occur while the individual is resting, but not while involved in a
task. Tremors may worsen when an individual is excited, tired, or stressed.
Rigidity: Stiffness of the limbs and trunk, which may increase during
movement. Rigidity may produce muscle aches and pain. Loss of fine hand
movements can lead to cramped handwriting (micrographia) and may make eating
Bradykinesia: Slowness of voluntary movement. Over time, it may become
difficult to initiate movement and to complete movement. Bradykinesia together
with stiffness can also affect the facial muscles and result in an
expressionless, "mask-like" appearance.
Postural instability: Impaired or lost reflexes can make it difficult to
adjust posture to maintain balance. Postural instability may lead to falls.
Parkinsonian gait: Individuals with more progressive Parkinson's disease
develop a distinctive shuffling walk with a stooped position and a diminished or
absent arm swing. It may become difficult to start
walking and to make turns.
Individuals may freeze in mid-stride and appear to fall forward while walking.
Secondary symptoms of Parkinson's disease
While the main symptoms of Parkinson's disease are movement-related,
progressive loss of muscle control and continued damage to the brain can lead to
secondary symptoms. These vary in severity, and not every individual will
experience all of them. Some of the secondary symptoms include:
anxiety, insecurity, and stress
memory loss, and
dementia (more common in elderly individuals)