Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder. It usually starts with a resting tremor in just one hand, later with stiffness, and slowing of movement. A patient may experience other problems, such as problems with facial expression, balance, loss of automatic movement, such as arms not swinging during walking, and speech problems. Parkinson's disease symptoms slowly progress over time.
Signs of Parkinson's disease often begin on one side of the body and might start as a resting shaking in one hand (tremor), described as pill-rolling. Other common symptoms of the disease include slowed movement (bradykinesia) and muscle stiffness (rigidity). Simple daily tasks usually become more difficult and time-consuming. Typically, a patient’s gait changes, and they may drag their feet as they walk.
The patient often experiences fluctuating instability, problems with the initiation of movement, loss of automatic movements such as blinking, issues with their speech and problems with handwriting.
The diagnostic process starts typically with a neurological examination. Based on the findings, the neurologist might recommend further blood tests, MRI brain, and DaTscan to differentiate Parkinson's disease from other diseases with similar symptoms.
There is not currently a cure for Parkinson's disease, but medications and treatment can help to effectively manage symptoms long-term.
When medication-based treatments became less effective, advanced treatment options such as neurostimulation, which requires neurosurgical intervention, can be introduced.