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Parkinson's Disease Health Center

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Understanding Parkinson's Disease -- Symptoms

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What Are the Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease?

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)

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Understanding Parkinson's Disease -- the Basics

Parkinson's disease mostly affects older people but can also occur in younger adults. The symptoms are the result of the gradual degeneration of nerve cells in the portion of the midbrain that controls body movements. The first signs are likely to be barely noticeable -- a feeling of weakness or stiffness in one limb, or a fine trembling of one hand when it is at rest. Eventually, the shaking (tremor) worsens and spreads, muscles become stiffer, movements slow down, and balance and coordination...

Read the Understanding Parkinson's Disease -- the Basics article > >

Call Your Doctor About Parkinson's Disease If:

You suspect Parkinson's disease might be at the root of any of the symptoms listed above. Drugs and other therapies are very effective in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. There are many ways to help a person with Parkinson's disease.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Richard Senelick, MD on February 28, 2015
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