You may have already done some research and found out all sorts of information about Parkinson’s. We would just like to begin by saying that it is different for everyone! No two people have the same set of symptoms or the same on-set or indeed seem to be on the same medication regime. This is why the following information is very basic and will not apply to everyone who is diagnosed.
Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition which means the cause is in the brain and it gradually gets more difficult to manage over time. It is caused by a lack of dopamine in the brain as some of the dopamine-producing cells have gradually died. Without enough dopamine people find their movements become slower and everyday tasks take longer to complete. There are many symptoms associated with Parkinson’s but the main ones are tremor, stiffness and slowness of movement.
A Parkinson’s tremor is more likely to occur during rest and while people are still, but not everyone with Parkinson’s has a tremor and some tremors are on movement. Some people’s tremors become more pronounced if they are anxious, upset or excited. Often the tremor starts on one side of the body and as time moves on the tremor can spread to the other side too.
Muscular rigidity and stiffness
Rigidity reduces a person’s range of movement. Getting out of chairs and turning in bed can become hard work. Fine finger movement and coordination can make writing and doing up buttons more problematic. Stooped posture and reduced facial expressions can also be caused by muscle rigidity. Exercise can help with all of these problems.
Slowness of Movement
Initiation of movement can be difficult, correct walking techniques and stride can also be affected. Everyday tasks can take longer to complete, often requiring more concentrated effort which can cause fatigue. Exercise can also help with these problems.
Other symptoms – to reiterate not everyone with Parkinson’s gets all of the symptoms.
Some people with Parkinson’s can also experience tiredness, pain, depression, lack of motivation, anxiety, difficulty with sleep and memory, swallowing problems, bladder and bowel problems, speech or quietening of voice. Again, all of these symptoms can have an impact on people’s day to day lives.
Additional health problems, illness, stress and anxiety can make Parkinson’s symptoms worse and more noticeable. It is also very important not to blame every health problem on Parkinson’s but to get all health issues properly checked out by your doctor.
Everyone is different and will experience a different rate of progression. After diagnosis, many people tell us they realise their symptoms began years before. Many of the symptoms can be treated or managed by medication. As symptoms increase, so the medication is tweaked to help manage this.