- Tremor – Shaking or trembling in the fingers, hand, or foot. Rubbing of the thumb and forefinger back and forth (called a “pill-rolling” tremor) is common. This usually happens at rest.
- Slowed movements – Movements become slower, making it difficult to complete simple tasks.
- Trouble initiating movement – Overcoming inertia to start movement is difficult. Getting up from a chair, for instance, can be very challenging. Feet may feel stuck to the floor.
- Muscle stiffness – This can happen in any part of the body. Stiff muscles may be painful or limit your range of motion. Sometimes stiffness worsens briefly and erratically to a severe degree, called “freezing”. You may just stop moving while walking, even though you are trying to walk.
- Change in posture – Posture becomes stooped.
- Impaired balance – This is linked to brain changes that happen in PD. Balance becomes less automatic and requires attention and thought.
- Loss of automatic movements – Decreased arm swing when you walk, decreased smiling when you are happy, or decreased blinking are common in PD.
- Changes in speech – Speech becomes softer and more monotone. Pauses during speech are common, which may be mixed with faster speech. Slurred speech can also occur.
- Changes in writing – Writing may be more difficult and handwriting often becomes smaller.
• Age – Although young adults can develop PD, it ordinarily begins in middle or late life, with the average age of developing PD around age 60.
• Heredity – Having a close relative with PD increases your risk, but the risk is still small unless you have many relatives in your family with PD.
• Sex – Men are more likely to develop PD than women.
• Exposure to toxins – Ongoing exposure to herbicides and pesticides may increase your risk of PD, but the risk appears relatively small.
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Dr. Anita Bennett MD – Health Tip Content Editor