Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement. Symptoms start gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. Tremors are common, but the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement.
In the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, your face may show little or no expression. Your arms may not swing when you walk. Your speech may become soft or slurred. Parkinson’s disease symptoms worsen as your condition progresses over time.
Although Parkinson’s disease can’t be cured, medications might significantly improve your symptoms. Occasionally, your doctor may suggest surgery to regulate certain regions of your brain and improve your symptoms.
Parkinson’s disease signs and symptoms can be different for everyone. Early signs may be mild and go unnoticed. Symptoms often begin on one side of your body and usually remain worse on that side, even after symptoms begin to affect both sides.
Parkinson’s signs and symptoms may include:
An estimated seven to 10 million people worldwide have Parkinson’s disease.
The prevalence of the disease ranges from 41 people per 100,000 in the fourth decade of life to more than 1,900 people per 100,000 among those who are 80 and older.
The incidence of the disease, or the rate of newly diagnosed cases, generally increases with age, although it can stabilize in people who are older than 80. An estimated 4 percent of people with Parkinson’s are diagnosed before age 50.
Men are 1.5 times more likely to have Parkinson’s than women.