Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic, progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the dopamine producing cells in the brain, causing a dopamine deficiency. This lack of dopamine causes motor (movement-related) and non-motor symptoms. 

Common motor features can include:

  • Resting tremor of a hand
  • Bradykinesia (slowness)
  • Rigidity (muscle stiffness)
  • Postural changes, which may include balance problems

Non-motor symptoms can impact the individual’s life most of all and may include:

  • Orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Urinary urgency and frequency
  • Constipation and nausea
  • Drooling
  • Sleep changes, such as extreme fatigue, insomnia, vivid dreams, disrupted sleep
  • Micrographia (small handwriting)
  • Pain 
  • Loss of smell
  • Vision changes
  • Vertigo/dizziness
  • Cognitive changes and mood issues
  • Dementia and/or hallucinations/delusions

Parkinson’s is currently incurable, though there is research underway on treatments and therapies that may slow disease progression. Parkinson’s disease usually evolves slowly over time, and each person’s presentation and course is different.