An early symptom of Parkinson's is tremor or shaking of one or both hands. It occurs at rest and is reduced when the limb is in action and usually vanishes during sleep. This is officially called a "resting tremor" as it occurs when the patient's hand is at rest.
Rigidity means stiffness and a sense of effort required to move the limb which may feel heavy and weak. Rigidity can prevent muscles from relaxing and this tension makes muscles ache.
Slowness of movement can be experienced in three ways: lack of spontaneous movement, slowness in starting a movement and slowness during the movement. This slowness is also noticed when getting out of a chair or car seat. It can also have an impact when getting dressed or eating. When muscles slow down chewing and swallowing can be affected.
TROUBLE WITH BALANCE
People with Parkinson's have disorders of posture - the neck and the trunk are bent, the elbows and wrists are slightly bent and the legs may be slightly flexed at the hips and knees. Loss of balance can accompany disordered posture. Patients find it difficult to regain their balance if they trip or stumble and as a result are prone to fall.
NON MOTOR SYMPTOMS (NOT RELATED TO MOVEMENT)
People with Parkinson's can experience some of the following symptoms:
Excessive daytime sleepiness
Change in taste and smell
Bladder dysfunction - urgency, frequency 6 incontinence,
Sleep problems - difficulty falling asleep, waking often
Restless leg syndrome
Rapid eye movement
It should be remembered that the symptoms of Parkinson's disease vary from patient to patient. There is evidence that non motor symptoms such as loss of sense of smell, sleep disorders and constipation may precede the motor features of the disease by several years. Researchers are increasingly focused on these non motor symptoms to detect Parkinson's disease as early as possible and to look for ways to stop its progression.