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Symptoms overview

Parkinson’s symptoms can be divided as follows:

Motor symptoms – symptoms involving movement, such as tremor, freezing and rigidity

Non-motor symptoms – symptoms not related to movement, such as tiredness, depression and pain

In addition, doctors also divide symptoms into primary and secondary symptoms.

Primary symptoms are the most noticeable or important symptoms. The three primary symptoms of Parkinson’s are all motor symptoms: tremor, rigidity or stiffness and slowness of movement (bradykinesia). Balance and posture are also affected as Parkinson’s progresses, so postural imbalance is sometimes seen as the fourth primary symptom.

Secondary symptoms are less obvious symptoms which still have an impact on quality of life. These can be either motor or non-motor.

Parkinson’s is a very individual condition, with symptoms varying a great deal from person to person. A very wide range of symptoms is associated with Parkinson’s, and not everyone will experience every symptom.

Symptoms tend to appear gradually, normally in just one side of the body at first, although both sides will eventually be affected. As Parkinson’s progresses, symptoms appear and develop at different rates in different people. In many people symptoms also fluctuate from day to day, with the person experiencing ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days.

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