Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease (PD) belongs to a group of conditions called motor system disorders. Motor system disorders are the result of losing dopamine-producing brain cells.
The four main symptoms of PD are:
- tremor, or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face;
- rigidity, or stiffness in your arms, legs, and trunk;
- bradykinesia, or slowness of movement; and
- postural instability or impaired balance and coordination.
As these symptoms progress, you may have difficulty walking, talking, or completing other simple tasks.
Who Does PD Affect?
PD usually affects people over the age of 50. Early symptoms of PD are subtle and occur gradually. In some people, the disease progresses more quickly than in others.
As the disease progresses, the shaking, or tremor may begin to get in the way of daily activities. (Shaking or tremor happens to the majority of patients.)
Other symptoms may include:
- depression and other emotional changes;
- difficulty in swallowing, chewing, and speaking;
- urinary problems or constipation;
- skin problems; and
- sleep disruptions.
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Susan Veater was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2015. She started having tremors that worsened over the next six years despite trying many different medications. Since medical therapy was no longer sufficient enough to control her symptoms, she was referred to a neurosurgeon who recommended she undergo deep brain stimulation.