Parkinson's symptoms at a glance
The symptoms of Parkinson's disease vary in different people. Some are difficult to spot, even for doctors. Others are obvious to the untrained eye. If you think you have Parkinson's symptoms, see a neurologist.
People are usually more familiar with the motor (movement) symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD). These signs can be seen from the outside and are used by doctors for diagnosis. The three "cardinal" motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease are:
- stiffness (Rigor): muscle stiffness determined by a doctor on examination
- slowness (Bradykinesia): decrease in spontaneous and voluntary movement; may include slowing walking, less arm swinging while walking, or decreased blinking or staring expressions
- Tremble in peace: a rhythmic, involuntary tremor that occurs in a finger, hand, or limb when relaxed and disappears during voluntary movement
Not everyone with Parkinson's has all three motor symptoms, but the slowness is always there. And although tremor is the most common symptom when diagnosed, has not everyone with Parkinson's tremors.
Other motor symptoms - Walking problems or difficulties with balance and coordination (Postural instability) - can also occur. These can occur at any time during Parkinson's disease, but are more likely as the disease progresses.
Non-motor symptoms are sometimes called Denotes "invisible" symptoms of Parkinson's, since you cannot see them from the outside. These common symptoms can affect almost any body system, occur at any time during the course of the disease (even before motor symptoms or diagnoses), and vary in severity from person to person. Non-motor symptoms can have a significant impact on the quality of life of Parkinson's patients and their families. They can include:
Parkinson's can affect the automatic / involuntary functions our bodies perform to keep us alive.
- constipation: decreased or hard bowel movements
- Low blood pressure (orthostatic hypotension): lowering blood pressure when changing position, e.g. B. when standing from sitting, which can lead to lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting
- Sexual problems: erectile dysfunction in men; decreased libido or pain in women
- Urinary problems: Frequent urination, involuntary loss of urine (incontinence), or difficulty emptying the bladder (weak current)
- Sweating: excessive sweating, regardless of temperature or anxiety
Mood swings and cognitive problems
Parkinson's disease can affect the way you think and feel.
- apathy: lack of motivation and lack of interest in activities
- Memory or thinking problems (cognitive problems): very different; range from multitasking and concentration difficulties that do not interfere with daily activities (mild cognitive impairment) to significant problems that affect a job, as well as daily and social activities (dementia).
- Mood disorders: Depression (sadness, loss of energy, less interest in activities) and anxiety (uncontrollable worry)
- psychosis: Seeing things that are not there (visual hallucinations) and having false, often paranoid beliefs (delusions), such as that a spouse is being unfaithful or that money is being stolen
Other physical changes
Parkinson's can cause other difficulties as well.
- Drooling: Salivation through decreased swallowing
- pain: Discomfort in one part of the body or throughout the body
- Skin changes: oily or dry skin; increased risk of melanoma
- Excessive sleepiness or tiredness during the day: feeling sleepy, sluggish, or exhausted; can be symptoms on its own or result from Parkinson's medication
- Loss of smell: Decreased ability to recognize smells
- Language problems: speaking in a low, monotonous voice and sometimes blurring or mumbling words
- Swallowing problems: Swallowing, coughing and clearing throat while eating and drinking
- Changes in vision: dry eyes, double vision and reading problems
- sleep disorders: Insomnia, restless legs syndrome (an uncomfortable feeling in the legs that goes away when you move), or REM sleep behavior disorder (living out dreams)
- Weight changes: mild to moderate weight loss
Source: Michael J. Fox Foundation, translated from English by Jürgen Zender
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