Most people with Parkinson’s experience nonmotor symptoms, those that do not involve movement, coordination, physical tasks or mobility. While a person’s family and friends may not be able to see them, these “invisible” symptoms can actually be more troublesome for some people than the motor impairments of PD.
Many researchers believe that nonmotor symptoms may precede motor symptoms — and a Parkinson’s diagnosis — by years. The most recognizable early symptoms include:
- Loss of sense of smell, constipation
- REM behavior disorder (a sleep disorder)
- Mood disorders
- Orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure when standing up).
If a person has one or more of these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that individual will develop Parkinson’s, but these markers are helping scientists to better understand the disease process.
Other Nonmotor Symptoms
Some of these important and distressing symptoms include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Bladder problems
- Sexual problems
- Excessive saliva
- Weight loss or gain
- Vision and dental problems
- Fatigue and loss of energy
- Fear and anxiety
- Skin problems
- Cognitive issues, such as memory difficulties, slowed thinking, confusion and in some cases, dementia
- Medication side effects, such as impulsive behaviors
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