FIVE TYPES OF PARKINSON’S SYMPTOMS
Parkinson’s disease has a variety of motor and non-motor symptoms. These vary widely from person to person. Following is a description of the general patterns of symptoms as the degenerative disease progresses.
It usually starts on one side of the body and over time affects the other side as well. The condition worsens over time.
Primary signs of Parkinson’s disease are:
TREMOR Almost 80% of Parkinson’s victims experience tremors. It usually starts in one hand and spreads to the leg or foot on the same side of the body. Then it progresses to the other side. When a person experiences stress, the tremors become worse. Tremoring is usually stronger when the limb is at rest and improves when it is in motion.
BRADYKINESIA (slow movement) is characterized by unusually slow movement, slow reaction time, and decreased spontaneous movement. The ability to eat is often hampered as is the ability to get up from a chair. This can also cause a reduction in facial expression. This is the Parkinson’s “Masked Face”. The face has a flat expression and is often described as stern.
RIGIDITY is characterized by still muscles. This stiffness can be felt when the muscles are touched.. There may be a reduction in the range of motion. This may lead to pain in the shoulders and is a common complaint.
POSTURAL INSTABILITY (reduced balance) is characterized by a loss in a person’s ability to maintain an upright posture. Balance is significantly impaired and my result in falls. Needless to say, falling can lead to tragedy. This instability is the most disabling motor symptom. A person loses their ability to care for themselves.
GAIT DISORDER or abnormal walking is another characteristic of Parkinson’s. It is common to see one arm lose its ability to swing. This is often followed by the dragging of one leg. It can be described as sticky feet. They seem to stick to the floor rather than move easily. As Parkinson’s progresses, a person begins to shuffle and not take normal steps. They usually walk more slowly as well. Sometimes a person experiences “freezing” where they can not move some part of their body.
OTHER MOTOR SYMPTOMS include Dysarthria or a speech problem A person becomes quiet, speaks in a monotone, and has altered pronunciation. Swallowing also becomes a problem as is drooling. Frequently, eating becomes a challenge. Micrography, small handwriting is common as well.