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Primary Parkinson's Disease Symptoms

Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder with four primary symptoms: tremors, rigidity, slow movement (also called bradykinesia), and postural instability. These symptoms can exhibit themselves in the following ways:

Tremors usually appear as a rhythmic oscillating (back and forth) movement in a hand or foot and sometimes in the jaw or face. Most people who have Parkinson's disease experience a subtle tremor in the early stages of their illness that usually gets worse over time. The tremor may start on just one side of the body and eventually spread to the other. Tremors that are associated with Parkinson's disease are known as "resting tremors," since they are most pronounced when your muscles are relaxed and usually subside when you begin moving.

Rigidity occurs when your body resists movement. Parkinson's disease-associated brain changes can cause your muscles to continuously contract, making you feel stiff and sore. This inflexibility of the muscles can make it difficult even for another person to move one of your limbs and may cause your movements to become short and jerky.

Bradykinesia is another word for slowness of movement. If you experience bradykinesia, it will take longer than normal to get moving, and your movements may stop suddenly. Bradykinesia can be one of the more frustrating Parkinson's disease symptoms to deal with since it can take hours to complete a task that once took minutes, such as getting dressed.

Postural instability means that you have problems with balance and coordination. This primary Parkinson's disease symptom can make it difficult for you to turn around or move suddenly and can increase your chances of falling. To compensate for postural instability, some people end up bowing their heads and dropping their shoulders, resulting in a hunched posture.

Everyone experiences Parkinson's disease differently and not all patients exhibit every primary Parkinson's disease symptoms. And just because you have one of these symptoms, doesn't mean you have Parkinson's disease ? Parkinson's-like symptoms can be signs of other conditions as well.

Medical Dictionary | Parkinson's Disease HOME