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
Swallowing problems in later stages
Lightheadedness or fainting when standing (orthostatic hypotension)
Usually, the outward symptoms of Parkinson's are distinctive enough for a doctor to make a diagnosis in the office. There is no blood test or brain scan that confirms the diagnosis. But if you don't respond to the drugs used to treat Parkinson's disease, it’s possible you may have another type of movement disorder that causes the same type of symptoms. Doing additional tests can help your doctor determine if some other problem is causing your parkinsonian symptoms.
You suspect Parkinson's disease might be at the root of any of the symptoms listed above. In the disease's early stages, drugs can be very beneficial. There are many ways to help a person with Parkinson's disease.