Parkinson's Disease Facts

Parkinson's disease is a slowly progressing, degenerative condition. Symptoms, which grow worse over time, result from the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. Learn More ›

Symptoms: What Are the Signs of Parkinson's Disease?

When you hear the name Michael J. Fox, three things may come to mind: Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties, Marty McFly in the Back to the Future trilogy, and Parkinson's disease. Fox is famous for his work in film and TV. But what he might be most associated with these days is his public battle with and crusade against Parkinson's disease--a brain disorder affecting muscle movement that gradually worsens over time.

So you've heard of Parkinson's disease (PD), but can you recognize the symptoms? There are four main signs of the disease:

  • Tremors (trembling)

  • Rigidity (muscle stiffness)

  • Postural instability (impaired balance and coordination)

  • Bradykinesia (slowed movement)

Learn more about the signs of Parkinson's Disease

Treatment: Tips for Taking Medications

Parkinson’s symptoms are much easier to manage with a good medication routine. In particular, the timing of when medications are taken can affect what activities are possible later on. You should also be aware that as the disease progresses your medications may not work as well as they did before. Your doctor may prescribe different medications. Or, you may need to take the same medications more often.

Parkinson’s medications can be a big help. But they may only work well for a certain amount of time before symptoms return. For best results, take medications at the same time each day. It can also help to keep a medication diary. Write down how long it takes for medications to work, and how long it takes before symptoms return. This makes it easier to plan activities for times you’ll feel your best.

Learn more about treating Parkinson's Disease

Living with: Managing Day to Day

As the disease progresses, you may need to make some changes in your daily routine. For best results, plan activities for times you’ll feel your best. Leave plenty of time to complete tasks. And take breaks when you need them. If more help is needed, your doctor may refer you to an occupational therapist. This is a professional who can help you relearn tasks of daily living.

To make dressing easier:

  • Sit down to dress. This helps prevent falls.

  • Choose clothes that are easy to put on and take off. Elastic waistbands and clothes that close in the front are good choices.

  • Add paper clips to zipper pulls. This makes them easier to grasp.

  • Wear shoes with Velcro straps. Women should avoid high heels.

Learn more about living with Parkinson's Disease

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Did You Know?

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Parkinson's disease only affects older adults.