7 Lesser-Known Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

When hearing about Parkinson’s disease, many people only think that it is only about tremors or movement problems. Unfortunately, the disease comes with a much wider range of symptoms; some are visible but some are not.

A diagnosis may be delayed due to lack of awareness about certain symptoms; and it can sometimes be hard to tell whether symptoms are a part of PD or from something else. It can be overwhelming to learn about symptoms you weren’t aware of, but as always, knowledge is power. Here are seven less common symptoms of PD you may not have been aware of.

Sleep disorders

This is including insomnia, daytime sleepiness and REM behavior disorder can be part of Parkinson’s disease along with restless leg syndrome and the sleeping problems caused by it.

Voice volume

Parkinson’s can cause slurred speech and a quieter voice. People who enjoy singing may find that their musical side is affected too. A speech therapist can help this symptom; singing in a choir or on your own can also help strengthen your voice.

Smell loss

The majority of people with Parkinson’s disease experience some smell loss, but not everyone who experiences smell loss has Parkinson’s. For many who do have Parkinson’s, this is one of the first symptoms.

Orthostatic hypotension

Orthostatic hypotension is a non-motor symptom of Parkinson’s disease. It is a drop in blood pressure when changing positions such as sitting to standing, and can cause lightheadedness and dizziness.

Dystonia

Dystonia is characterized by painful, prolonged muscle contractions; and while it is a symptom of Parkinson’s, it’s also the third most common movement disorder.

Bradykinesia

Bradykinesia is a slowing down or loss of spontaneous and voluntary movement. You may move more slowly, swing one arm less while walking, or show less facial expression – which is referred to as facial masking.

Fatigue and apathy

Many people with Parkinson’s disease experience these frustrating symptoms. They could be associated with a sleeping disorder, caused by depression, or be something else entirely.

While not everyone who has these problems should be concerned, if you experience some of these and are not sure if it’s related to Parkinson’s, ask your doctor. It may be another symptom of PD you weren’t aware of.

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July 20, 2017 Parkinson's Blog
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