Recognize the Motor and Non-Motor Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. This occurs due to damage to the nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine. This disease is one of the most common degenerative diseases, with an incidence of Parkinson's disease around 1% of the population over 60 years. Therefore, we must be aware of the signs and symptoms of this disease, so that the diagnosis can be made and optimal management can be given early. This aims to improve the quality of life for people with Parkinson's better.

The main symptoms of Parkinson's disease are movement disorders, namely: tremors, rigidity, bradykinesia, and postural instability.

  1. Tremor is a special symptom of Parkinson's disease. The tremor usually starts on one side of the arm and then progresses to both sides. Tremor appears more pronounced when resting and not active, so the tremor in Parkinson's disease is known as a resting tremor.
  2. Rigidity is an increase in muscle tone. Rigidity or stiffness in these muscles can cause limited joint movement and changes in posture along with the course of this disease.
  3. Bradykinesia (Brady: slow, kinesia: moving) is the voluntary slowing of movement, either initially initiating movement or maintaining it. These symptoms are initially mild but will progressively become more severe so that they can interfere with the patient's quality of life.
  4. Disruption to walking can be seen from the beginning of the disease in the form of reduced arm swing, small steps, or dragging feet. As the disease progresses, postural instability can occur which makes it difficult for the patient to maintain balance and is at risk of falling.

In addition to motor symptoms, there are many non-motor symptoms experienced by patients with Parkinson's disease. Some symptoms may appear at the beginning, even before there are motor complaints, but some other symptoms occur at an advanced stage. In general, there are four groups of non-motor symptoms, namely:

  1. Symptoms of autonomic disturbances such as digestive disorders (nausea, early satiety, constipation), urinary disturbances (frequent urination, difficult urination, frequent urination at night), increased saliva production, excessive sweating, orthostatic hypotension (decreased blood pressure when standing), and sexual dysfunction.
  2. Sleep disturbances: insomnia, delirium, and legs that keep moving hard to control before going to bed.
  3. Psychiatric and cognitive disorders: mood disturbances, hallucinations, slow thinking functions, and forgetfulness.
  4. Sensory disturbances and other non-motor disturbances: olfactory impairment, hearing loss, pain, and weakness.

Because the symptoms of Parkinson's disease are so broad, a thorough and thorough evaluation by the clinician is required. Not only seeing changes in the patient's movements and steps, but also the non-motor symptoms. Treatment given for Parkinson's disease aims to reduce motor and non-motor symptoms with the ultimate goal of improving the patient's quality of life.

The article was written by dr. Gloria Tanjung, Sp.N (Neurology / Nerve Specialist at EMC Sentul Hospital).