Parkinson's disease is a movement disorder that progresses slowly. Some people will first notice a sense of weakness, difficulty walking, and stiff muscles. Others may notice a tremor of the head or hands. Parkinson's is a progressive disorder and the symptoms gradually worsen. The general symptoms of Parkinson's disease include:
Slowness of voluntary movements, especially in the initiation of such movements as walking or rolling over in bed.
Decreased facial expression, monotonous speech, and decreased eye blinking.
A shuffling gait with poor arm swing and stooped posture.
Unsteady balance; difficulty rising from a sitting position.
Continuous "pill-rolling" motion of the thumb and forefinger.
Abnormal tone or stiffness in the trunk and extremities.
Usually, the outward symptoms of Parkinson's are distinctive enough for a doctor to make a diagnosis in the office. Tests can help your doctor determine whether you have Parkinson's disease or some other type of parkinsonism. If you don't have a response to the drugs used to treat Parkinson's disease, you may have one of these other types of movement disorders and your doctor will probably continue to search for the cause of your symptoms.