How does Parkinson's progress?

Parkinson's affects everyone differently.

The symptoms someone might have and how quickly the condition develops will differ from one person to the next.

For many people, the condition can take years to progress to a point where it has a real impact on daily life.

How do symptoms progress?

The most common symptoms of Parkinson's are tremor, rigidity (stiffness) and slowness of movement.

Not everyone with Parkinson's experiences the same combination of symptoms – they vary from person to person.

Also, how Parkinson's affects someone can change from day to day, and even from hour to hour. Symptoms that may be noticeable one day may not be a problem the next.

Many of the symptoms can be treated or managed with medication and therapies.

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.

Can you die from Parkinson's?

Advanced symptoms of a long-term condition like Parkinson’s can make people more vulnerable to poor health and increased disability. These complications can sometimes result in someone dying. When this happens, Parkinson’s can be recorded as a cause of death.

Complications can include:

  • aspiration pneumonia (caused by breathing in food or liquid and not being able to cough it back up)
  • falls
  • chest infections and pneumonia 

This is one of the reasons why it’s important to manage your condition as well as you can, with the support of specialist healthcare professionals. 

Then and now

"I know who I am now - I didn't know who I was then because I was scared. But as the years go by you feel different."

In this video, Caz reflects on how she felt when she was first diagnosed with Parkinson's and how far she has come in 2 years.

Helpline and local advisers

Our helpline and Parkinson's local advisers are here to answer any questions you have about how Parkinson's progresses.

Call us on 0808 800 0303.

Last updated July 2020. We review all our information within 3 years. If you'd like to find out more about how we put our information together, including references and the sources of evidence we use, please contact us at [email protected]