Parkinson’s Disease | Symptoms

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What are the symptoms of Parkinson's disease?

People who have Parkinson's disease have problems with muscle movement. These problems may include the following:

  • Tremor (shaking or trembling) of the hands, arms, legs, jaw, or face: Tremors caused by Parkinson's may be barely noticeable at first, then get worse over time. Tremors also tend to get worse when the person is at rest and better when the person moves. The tremor may affect one side of the body more than the other. A tremor in the hand or arm may cause the person’s handwriting to look "shaky" and smaller than usual.
  • Slowed movements: Over time, a person who has Parkinson’s may begin to move slowly and take a long time to perform simple tasks, such as getting out of a chair.
  • Stiff muscles (also called rigidity): Over time, muscles in the body may contract and become stiff, which makes it hard to move them.
  • Posture and balance problems: Parkinson’s disease can make it hard for a person to stand or sit up straight. It can also cause balance problems when sitting, standing, or walking, which can lead to falls.

Other symptoms of Parkinson's disease include nightmares, depression, extra saliva, speech problems, and difficulty walking, buttoning clothes, or cutting food.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 05/14
Created: 03/96

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