Parkinson’s Disease Causes Tremors and Impacts Mobility

Parkinson’s disease is a condition that causes some brain cells to die, particularly those making dopamine to die. The impacted brain cells help control movement and coordination, so as the disease progresses, patients with Parkinson’s disease experience significant shaking (tremors) and stiffness. Parkinson’s disease is also called paralysis agitans or shaking palsy. About one million adults in the United States have Parkinson’s disease, particularly those that are responsible for making dopamine.

Symptoms, Diagnosis & Outlook

Symptoms

If you are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, your symptoms might be mild at first. You might have a mild tremor or the feeling that one leg is slightly stiff or dragging. You may also have trouble with handwriting. These symptoms can affect one or both sides of the body.

As the disease escalates, symptoms can include:

  • Rigid or stiff muscles
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Stooped posture
  • Constipation
  • Slow blinking or slowed, quieter speech and monotype voice
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Drooling
  • No expression in your face (like you are wearing a mask)
  • Hard to get up from a chair or hard to get off of a couch
  • Loss of sense of smell

In addition to physical symptoms, patients with Parkinson’s disease can experience movement problems, such as:

  • Difficulty starting movement, such as walking or getting out of a chair
  • Slowed movements
  • Loss of small hand movements (writing may become small and difficult to read)
  • Difficulty eating

Tremors can:

  • Occur when your limbs are not moving (resting tremor)
  • Occur when your arm or leg is held out
  • Go away when you move
  • May get worse when you are tired, excited or stressed
  • Can cause you to rub your finger and thumb together without meaning to (pill-rolling tremor)
  • Eventually may occur in your head, lips, tongue and feet

As Parkinson's disease progresses, it can have a significant impact on a patient’s overall health and well-being. Additional symptoms include:

  • Problems with balance and walking
  • Low blood pressure when you stand up, which may lead to fainting
  • Sweating and not being able to control your body temperature
  • Anxiety
  • Tension
  • Confusion
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Memory loss

Diagnosis

At Penn State Neuroscience Institute, our experts will review your medical history, discuss your symptoms and perform a thorough physical exam. There are hallmark Parkinson’s disease symptoms that our experts will be looking for, which include:

  • Slow in movement
  • Stiffness
  • Shaking (tremors) while resting

Our team might also recommend additional tests to rule out similar conditions or confirm your Parkinson’s diagnosis.

Outlook

There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but our experts at Penn State Neuroscience Institute will work with you to create a treatment plan to best control your symptoms. If you or a loved one has Parkinson’s disease, take comfort that many medications can help many patients in the early stages of the disease. How well the medicine continues to relieve symptoms as the condition progresses can vary by patient.

At Penn State Neuroscience Institute, it’s our goal to treat your Parkinson’s disease symptoms compassionately. We’re here for you every step of the way.

Support Groups

Support groups provide an opportunity to share your feelings and connect with other patients and caregivers who are experiencing similar struggles.

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Why Choose Penn State Health for Care

The experts at Penn State Neuroscience Institute are committed to providing comprehensive, cutting-edge diagnostic and treatment options for patients with Parkinson’s disease and related disorders. We also provide patient and caregiver services and outreach programs. 

We are committed to furthering research and clinical trials for movement disorders. To learn more about clinical trials available at Penn State Health, visit our StudyFinder. We offer many research opportunities including research on Parkinson’s disease look a likes (such as progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and multiple system atrophy (MSA).

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