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Signs & Symptoms of Parkinson's

The most common signs of Parkinson’s disease are tremors (involuntary shaking), usually seen in one hand or foot, a slowness in movement and a increase in rigidity (stiffness).

There are two classifications of symptoms – motor and non-motor. Motor symptoms relate to movement, such as tremors, and non-motor relate to problems such as depression and constipation.

Tremors seen in people with Parkinson’s disease are usually present when the hand or leg is relaxed, or not in use, and we call this a resting tremor. For example, if you have a resting tremor in your hand, when you are sitting and relaxed, your hand begins to tremble, but when you reach your hand out to pick up something, the movement stops.

Anxiety can cause the tremor to become worse, so people with Parkinson’s will often notice that in times of high stress, the tremor can be very noticeable.
Not all people with Parkinson's will have a tremor, although according to the UK Parkinson's Disease Society website, it is estimated that up to 70% of people with Parkinson's will develop a tremor.

Slowness of Movement (Bradykinesia)
Slowness of movement is often described as a difficulty in completing daily tasks at the usual speed and ease, for example getting dressed.

This slowness in movement can also affect the way in which you walk, as it may cause short, shuffling steps.

The stiffness caused by Parkinson's can be a result of the muscles being unable to stretch or relax. Light exercises or physiotherapy can help loosen up tight muscles, and improve mobility.

Feel free to contact the association for some helpful tips and tricks and request a copy of our exercise wall chart devised by a physiotherapist specifically for Parkinson’s disease.

Constipation in Parkinson’s disease is a very common problem. It is very important to manage this, as constipation can cause a delay in the uptake of medication, and result in little or no benefit from the drugs. Simple tips to avoid constipation include drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, try to include fresh fruit and vegetable in your diet, as they are a great source of fibre, and try to stay as active as possible, as lack of exercise can contribute to constipation.

If you do suffer from constipation, and you find that these tips don’t help, it’s important to talk to your doctor and it may be necessary to start taking a laxative to help.

Depression is a very common symptom in Parkinson's disease. It is diagnosed after a prolonged period (2 weeks or longer) of low mood. Depression can be a very debilitating element of Parkinson's disease, causing feelings of low self esteem and hopelessness. It is very important that you tell your doctor if you are having issues with your mood, as depression can be managed very well with the right help.

Anxiety is often seen in people with Parkinson's disease, and can be associated with wearing off (i.e. the wearing off of the medication).


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