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Parkinson's Disease

Basics

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Definition

Parkinson's disease is a disorder of the brain that leads to shaking (tremors) and difficulty with walking, movement, and coordination.

Symptoms

The disorder may affect one or both sides of the body. How much function is lost can vary.

Symptoms may be mild at first. For instance, the patient may have a mild tremor or a slight feeling that one leg or foot is stiff and dragging.

Symptoms include:

  • Automatic movements (such as blinking) slow or stop
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Drooling
  • Impaired balance and walking
  • Lack of expression in the face (mask-like appearance)
  • Muscle aches and pains (myalgia)
  • Problems with movement
    • Difficulty starting or continuing movement, such as starting to walk or getting out of a chair
    • Loss of small or fine hand movements (writing may become small and difficult to read, and eating becomes harder)
    • Shuffling gait
    • Slowed movements
  • Rigid or stiff muscles (often beginning in the legs)
  • Shaking, tremors
    • Tremors usually occur in the limbs at rest, or when the arm or leg is held out
    • Tremors go away during movement
    • Over time, tremor can be seen in the head, lips, tongue, and feet
    • May be worse when tired, excited, or stressed
    • Finger-thumb rubbing (pill-rolling tremor) may be present
  • Slowed, quieter speech and monotone voice
  • Stooped position

Other symptoms:

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