Parkinson’s disease is a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years. Most people associate the disease with older people, but it can also develop in much younger people. It’s therefore important to be aware of the symptoms – some of which may be known to many people, while others are much less obvious. These are the three main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease:
Tremors refer to shaking, usually in the hands or arms. Tremors are more likely to occur when the limb is relaxed and resting.
Slowness of movement
This involves physical movements which are much slower than normal. It can make everyday tasks difficult and can result in a distinctive slow, shuffling walk with very small steps.
Stiffness and tension in the muscles can make it difficult to move around and make facial expressions, and can result in painful muscle cramps.
According to the NHS, the three main symptoms are sometimes referred to by doctors as parkinsonism as there can be causes other than Parkinson’s disease.
The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease usually develop gradually and are mild at first.
While the three main symptoms affect physical movement, there are many others symptoms which are both physical and mental.
These can include problems with balance, urinary incontinence, constipation, loss of sense of smell and nerve pain.
According to the NHS, loss of sense of smell can sometimes be the first symptom to appear, occurring several years before other symptoms develop.
Nerve pain can cause unpleasant sensations, such as burning, coldness or numbness.
Other symptoms include erectile dysfunction, dizziness, blurred vision or fainting, excessive sweating and drooling.
Difficulties with swallowing and problems sleeping can also be symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Cognitive and psychiatric symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include depression and anxiety, dementia and more mild cognitive impairment.
“The order in which these develop and their severity is different for each individual. It’s unlikely that a person with Parkinson’s disease would experience all or most of these,” said the NHS.
“See your GP if you’re concerned you may have symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.”