Treatment may help control
symptoms during the early
stages of Parkinson's disease. It is usually started
as soon as symptoms begin to affect your ability to work or do daily
activities. As the
disease progresses, drugs may become less effective.
usually the first symptom, appearing in just one arm
or leg or on only one side of the body. With time, the tremor usually—but not always—spreads
to both sides of the body. Joint pain, weakness, and fatigue may occur.
As the disease gets worse, the person may have slow
movement, stiff muscles, and poor coordination. He or she may have problems with tasks such as writing,
shaving, or brushing teeth. Changes in handwriting are common.
with posture and balance develop. A person with Parkinson's tends to
walk in a stooped manner with quick, shuffling steps.
several years, as muscle stiffness and tremor increase, the person may become
unable to care for himself or herself. He or she may
be confined to a wheelchair or bed.
People who have taken medicine for several years
may not only notice their symptoms getting worse but also may start to have other movement problems. These
motor fluctuations can be reduced somewhat by making changes in the person's
medicine, but they can be difficult to control and may further complicate
Dementia may develop in up to one-third
of people who have late-stage Parkinson's disease.1
Dementia symptoms may include disorientation at night, confusion, and memory
loss. Treatment for Parkinson's disease can also
contribute to this problem.