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Parkinson’s Disease Explained
Apr 2015
Dr Sudhir Kumar
Senior Consultant Neurologist, Apollo Health City, Hyderabad

What is Parkinson’s disease (PD)?
Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder, characterised by tremors of hands/feet, rigidity of arms/legs, slowness of movements and postural imbalance. The disease is named after Dr James Parkinson, who gave the first accurate description of this disease in 1817.

What are the main symptoms of PD?
The main symptoms of PD include:

  • Shivering of arms and feet at rest
  • Stiffness or rigidity of arms and legs
  • Slowness of all movements such as walking, etc.
  • Imbalance while standing or walking or turning
  • Reduced blink rate
  • Expressionless face (called as ‘mask-like faces’)
  • Reduced swinging of arms while walking
  • Stooped posture while standing or walking
  • Small handwriting (called as micrographia)
  • Short, shuffling steps while walking
  • Tendency to fall forwards

It should be noted that all symptoms may not be present at onset of disease and also all symptoms may not occur in every patient with PD. Symptoms usually start on one side of body and spread to the other side within three to four years of onset of disease.

Which groups of people are more prone to get PD?
Older people are more prone to get PD. The average age of affected people is 60 years. It is very uncommon in people below 40 years of age. Men and women are equally affected. There are no proven risk factors or protective factors for the disease.