Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition and the symptoms usually develop gradually. Symptoms can be mild at first, but Parkinson’s home care is usually needed as the symptoms progress and more support is required.
Parkinson’s is caused when cells from a part of the brain called the substantia nigra no longer work properly and die over time. As these cells die, the chemical they would have produced, dopamine, decreases in the body. Dopamine is used by the brain to send messages to control movements, and as the levels of dopamine reduce, the symptoms of Parkinson’s gradually appear.
As a result of this, the three main symptoms are physical: slowness of movement (bradykinesia), muscle stiffness (rigidity) and Parkinson’s tremor (shaking) when relaxed and resting. Other physical symptoms can include: loss of smell, nerve pain, swallowing difficulties (dysphagia), urinary incontinence and balance problems, among others. But it’s not just a physical disease: those with Parkinson’s can also experience cognitive and psychiatric symptoms such as problems with memory and organisation, dementia, depression and anxiety.