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How does Parkinson's progress?

Koki, who has Parkinson's, going for a walk along the river bank

The symptoms of Parkinson's usually begin slowly, develop gradually and in no particular order.

There are a raft of symptoms but not everybody will necessarily experience all of them

Joanne, diagnosed in 2006

Symptoms vary greatly from person to person. But early Parkinson's symptoms often include feeling tired and weak.

Other early symptoms can include poor hand co-ordination, problems with handwriting, and a sensation of tremor (shaking) in the arm.

How Parkinson's changes over time will also mean that drug treatments and other forms of Parkinson's treatment will also change.

Symptoms develop over time

The symptoms of Parkinson's alter as the condition develops. Drug prescriptions and therapies also change to reflect these developments.

Existing symptoms can become worse, with new symptoms and complications occurring over time.

You may also need to take more medication, which could lead to a lot of pills to manage. There are various types of pill dispensers, timers and reminders available.

Having Parkinson's has made it clear how vitally important medication is to somebody with the condition

Tina, diagnosed in 2003

As symptoms develop, problems with movement may increase, affecting day-to-day living and independence.

If you experience any difficulties getting around in your home or outside seek help from our helpline or Parkinson's local advisers.

Parkinson's symptoms that do not affect movement, often called non-motor symptoms, may also become worse over time.

These symptoms may include sleep difficulties, depression, anxiety, excessive sweating, bladder and bowel problems, saliva control difficulties and memory problems.

The non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's are sometimes not identified and treated because people with Parkinson's don't realise they are related to the condition.

Our non-motor symptoms questionnaire can help ensure that doctors, Parkinson's specialists and nurses are aware of all your symptoms.

Our information about advanced Parkinson's includes ideas and practical tips to manage Parkinson's as the condition progresses.

Coping with Parkinson's

As advances in the treatment of Parkinson's continue, the quality of life for people with the condition also improves.

Although I admit that Parkinson's impacts on my life, I consider myself fortunate that, with modern medication, it certainly doesn't dominate it.

Jenni, diagnosed in 2001

Many people with Parkinson's lead active and fulfilling lives. An important part of coping with Parkinson's is understanding how it affects you and how to work around it.

It may not always be easy to maintain a positive outlook, especially immediately after diagnosis, but we can give you help and support.

We operate throughout the UK, offering support, advice, events and activities for people with Parkinson's and their families and carers.

You can also chat, share experiences and ask questions on our online discussion forum.

Can you die from Parkinson's?

Most doctors and researchers believe that Parkinson's does not directly cause people to die and that none of the drugs used to treat Parkinson's can cause death.

For the majority of people, Parkinson's will not significantly affect their life expectancy.

However, some of the more advanced symptoms can lead to increased disability and poor health, which can make someone more vulnerable to infection. For some people, infections or other health problems can be serious and possibly life-threatening.

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