Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition, which is characterised by both motor (movement) and non-motor symptoms. A full list of symptoms is explained here.
Although classified as a movement disorder, Parkinson's can affect people in different ways. Sometimes the emotional changes can be more troublesome than the motor changes and can have a bigger impact on the day-to-day life of someone living with Parkinson’s.
Parkinson's commonly leads to problems with constipation and bladder control, including urinary urgency, frequency, retention and nocturia.
Many people with mid and late-stage Parkinson's experience low blood pressure, known as hypotension. This can be a symptom of Parkinson's, it can be a side effect of the medications used to treat Parkinson's, or it may be connected to another health condition.
Slowness of movement (bradykinesia) and muscle stiffness (rigidity) are both typical motor symptoms of Parkinson’s.
Impulsive and compulsive behaviors are possible side effects of some Parkinson’s medications. Only a small number of people experience these behaviours, but it can have a significant impact on the person affected and those around them.
Cognition or cognitive function is a term used to describe the thought processes of your brain. Cognition includes judgement, reasoning, problem-solving and memory.
Dyskinesia is a term used to describe uncontrollable, often jerky movements that a person does not intend to make. These movements can affect the arms, legs, head or whole body. Dystonia refers to the condition where muscles tighten involuntarily.
Some people may find they have difficulties with eating, swallowing and saliva control at some stage of their journey with Parkinson’s.
It is common for people living with Parkinson's to experience fatigue, sleep difficulties or restless legs.
Some people who have had Parkinson’s for a long time may experience hallucinations and/or delusions. Often hallucinations and delusions are a side effect of medication and changes in medications can be made by your GP or specialist.
Many people living with Parkinson’s will experience pain at some point as the condition progresses. However, pain affects each person differently. It may present as a feeling of tingling, numbness, stiffness or aching. Pain can be a major issue for some people, but a relatively minor issue for others.
People with Parkinson’s sometimes have problems with their skin, and how much or how little they sweat. Some people may only have minor issues, while others may have more severe problems that can affect daily life and cause them discomfort or embarrassment.
Loss of sense of smell or “hyposmia” is a common but rarely noticed symptom that may occur years before the start of motor symptoms, or a diagnosis of Parkinson’s. For some people, the effects of Parkinson's may also have an impact on their vision.
Communicating with others is something that many people take for granted. However, Parkinson’s can cause difficulties with communication which might impact on various parts of your life.
A tremor is a rhythmical, involuntary movement that affects a part of the body, for example the hand. Tremor is a well-known motor symptom of Parkinson’s, but not everybody with Parkinson’s will develop a tremor. A tremor can also be a symptom of conditions other than Parkinson’s.
Slowed movement, stiff muscles and changes to posture affect all people living with Parkinson's. These issues and others can lead to challenges with walking, freezing and falling.