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Symptoms of advanced Parkinson's

There are no Parkinson's symptoms that specifically affect people in the advanced stages of Parkinson's. But you may find a change in how your symptoms affect you, and you may experience new symptoms.

Changes in symptoms over time

I tend to get muscle cramps and rigidity in the morning when I wake up. It can be difficult to cope with.

Not everyone with Parkinson's will have the same 'set' of symptoms. The symptoms you experience and how they affect you will change over time.

In the advanced stages of Parkinson's, you may find that main symptoms such as tremor, rigidity or slowness of movement are outweighed by other, non-movement symptoms.

These could include symptoms such as tiredness, pain, and bladder and bowel problems. All of these can be treated.

Pain management, in particular, is important for quality of life in the advanced stages of Parkinson's. See our Pain in Parkinson's information sheet.

For practical information on dealing with symptoms, see our free publications on the symptoms of Parkinson's.

Side effects of Parkinson's medication

You may find your physical symptoms are no longer controlled by your Parkinson's medication or that the medication used to treat them causes its own problems.

Responses to medication can change suddenly. And some medications can cause side effects that, in some cases, can be more troubling than the symptoms of Parkinson's themselves.

If you experience side effects from your Parkinson's medication, you shouldn't stop taking it without guidance from your specialist or Parkinson's nurse. Talk to them if you notice anything unusual.

Mental health

Some people also find they experience changes in how their mind works.

This may be a side effect of some Parkinson's medication and can include difficulties with memory, hallucinations, confusion, anxiety and depression.

Dementia doesn't affect everyone with Parkinson's, but it is more common in people with the condition than those without.

Find out more about coping with the mental health symptoms of Parkinson's.

Coping with other conditions

Your specialist or Parkinson's nurse need to be aware of any other conditions to make sure that any medication is compatible with your Parkinson's drugs.

It may be that you have other conditions alongside Parkinson's that need to be managed. Other health issues are more likely if you are older.

Some symptoms of these other conditions may be similar to those of Parkinson's. This can make it difficult for them to be recognised separately and treated in the right way.

Your specialist or Parkinson's nurse will need to be aware of any other conditions and treatment to make sure that any medication is compatible with your Parkinson's drugs.

Record your symptoms to prepare for appointments

At this stage, you may be used to living with a number of issues that affect you day to day, such as communication or sleep problems.

Use our non-motor symptoms questionnaire to record anything you're experiencing problems with.

You can then take this with you to your next appointment with your specialist or Parkinson's nurse.

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