Identifying & Addressing 10 Common Parkinson’s Symptoms

Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects movement. It develops over time and worsens as the disease progresses. There is no known cure for Parkinson's, but there are treatments available that can help manage the symptoms.
 
It is important for caregivers to be aware of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease so that they can be addressed appropriately.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

There are some common symptoms of Parkinson's disease that you should be aware of. The most common are:

Bradykinesia

The hallmark symptom of Parkinson's disease is the gradual onset of bradykinesia, or a slowing of movement. This can make everyday activities like walking, talking, and writing increasingly difficult. As the disease progresses, patients may also experience tremors, rigidity, and difficulty with balance.

Tremors

Some people with Parkinson's disease can experience tremors. Tremors are unintentional rhythmic movements of one or more body parts. They can occur at any time, but they are most common when a person is resting or trying to do something precise, like writing or using a knife and fork.
 
The cause of tremors in people with Parkinson's disease is not fully understood, but it is thought that they may be caused by a decrease in dopamine levels. In some cases, tremors may also be associated with other conditions such as anxiety or medications that are used to treat Parkinson's disease.

Rigidity

One of the key symptoms of Parkinson's disease is rigidity, which can make muscle movement difficult and uncomfortable. This can be a particular challenge for people with the condition, as it can affect their ability to carry out everyday tasks.
 
There are a number of ways that rigidity can be managed, including physical therapy and medication. It is important to work with a healthcare professional to find the best way to manage rigidity, as each person's case is unique.

Postural instability

One of the most common symptoms of Parkinson’s is postural instability, which is the loss of balance and coordination. This can lead to falls and other accidents.
 
There are several factors that contribute to postural instability in people with Parkinson's disease. One is the loss of dopaminergic cells in the brain, which leads to problems with movement and balance. Additionally, people with Parkinson's disease often have problems with muscle stiffness and rigidity, which can also affect balance.
 
There are a number of treatments available for postural instability in people with Parkinson's disease. These include medications, physical therapy, and surgery. Medications can help to improve movement and balance, while physical therapy can help to improve strength and flexibility. Surgery may be recommended in cases of severe postural instability that does not respond to other treatments.
 
It is important to seek treatment for postural instability as soon as possible. This can help to prevent falls and other accidents, which can lead to serious injuries. Treatment can also help to improve quality of life for people with Parkinson's disease.

Akinesia

Akinesia is a condition that is associated with Parkinson's disease. This condition results in a lack of movement or mobility. People who have akinesia may find it difficult to move their arms or legs, and they may also experience a decrease in facial expression. Akinesia can be quite debilitating, as it can make it difficult to perform everyday activities such as walking or eating.
 
There is no cure for akinesia, but there are treatments available that can help improve mobility and quality of life. Some common therapies include physical therapy, occupational therapy, and medications. With early diagnosis and treatment, many people with akinesia can experience a significant improvement in their quality of life.

Speech Problems

Parkinson's disease can cause a wide variety of speech problems. Many people with the disease experience difficulty speaking clearly and may have trouble pronouncing certain words. They may also have a softer than normal voice or find it difficult to keep their voice from shaking. Speech problems can make it difficult for people with Parkinson's to communicate with others and can be very frustrating. There are a number of strategies that can help people with speech problems manage them, however. Some people find that working with a speech therapist can be very helpful. Others find that practicing specific exercises can help them speak more clearly. There are also a number of devices available that can assist people in communicating more effectively.

Trouble Swallowing

Parkinson's disease can cause difficulty swallowing because the disease can damage the basal ganglia, which are responsible for coordinating movement. As a result, people with Parkinson's may have trouble initiating swallowing, controlling the muscles involved in swallowing, or completing the swallow. This can lead to food getting inhaled into the lungs causing inflammation, known as aspiration pneumonia.  In severe cases, people with Parkinson's may need to be fed through a feeding tube. There are treatments available that can help improve swallowing for people with Parkinson's disease, so please speak to your doctor if you or a loved one are experiencing any difficulty swallowing.

Depression and Anxiety

Depression and anxiety are common in people with Parkinson's disease. These conditions can be caused by the disease itself or by the medications used to treat it. Depression is a feeling of sadness or emptiness that lasts for at least two weeks. It can cause problems with focus, sleep, appetite, and energy. Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or fear and can cause problems with concentration, sleep, and muscle tension.
 
Both depression and anxiety can make it harder to manage Parkinson's disease. They can also lead to other health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Sleep Problems

Sleep problems are common in people with Parkinson's disease. In fact, up to 70% of people with Parkinson's disease have sleep problems. There are a number of reasons why people with Parkinson's disease may have trouble sleeping. Some of the most common reasons include restless leg syndrome, movement disorders, sleep apnea, and poor sleep hygiene (not getting enough exercise, drinking caffeine or alcohol before bed, and/or screen time before bed.)

Home Care Services for Help with Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms

Parkinson's disease can be extremely debilitating for those who suffer from it, making everyday activities difficult. However, BrightStar Care offers professional home care services to help you manage Parkinson's disease at home and make life easier.
 
Home care services can provide assistance with things like bathing, dressing, and grooming. They can also help with tasks like cooking, cleaning, and shopping. Home care providers can also offer you emotional support and companionship. If you or a loved one are struggling to live with Parkinson's disease, consider hiring BrightStar Care to help you. Our local care teams are ready to help.
 
Contact BrightStar Care today to learn more about our professional care teams—your family is our family!