Non-Motor Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease

While Parkinson’s is characterized by slowness of movement, rigidity, tremor and postural instability, many people with Parkinson’s may experience other changes; sometimes even prior to their motor symptoms. These other changes, known as non-motor symptoms, can also impact one’s quality of life and many patients may not realize that these other symptoms are linked to Parkinson’s disease. As a result, these non-motor symptoms often go untreated.

Non-motor symptoms can vary substantially from patient to patient and can include the following*: drooling; change in taste and smell; choking and swallowing difficulties; nausea and vomiting; constipation; uncontrolled loss of stool; bladder dysfunction; unexplained changes in weight; dementia and cognitive impairment; hallucinations; depression and anxiety; sexual dysfunction, orthostatic hypotension; excessive daytime sleepiness; insomnia; REM sleep behaviour disorder; restless leg syndrome; leg swelling; excessive sweating; double vision; delusions and impulse control disorders. 

Parkinson Canada funded researcher Dr. Ron Postuma, developed two tools help people with Parkinson’s and their physicians identify and manage non-motor symptoms: 'A Guide to the Non-Motor Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease’ (for people with Parkinson’s) and the Physician Guide to Non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. Both these guides include the internationally-validated PD NMS Questionnaire (PDF) so patients can record what they are experiencing and discuss the symptoms with their doctor.

*Source: A Guide to the Non-Motor Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease by Ron Postuma & Christos Galatas