Know the Signs – Is Parkinson’s Progressing?

Know the Signs to Help Understand If Parkinson’s May Be Progressing — Increased motor fluctuations may be a reality for people as their Parkinson’s disease progresses.

More “Off” Time, Less “On” Time

As Parkinson’s disease progresses it may be harder and harder to control motor symptoms. You may notice more periods of slowness, stiffness and impaired mobility when medication is not working optimally (known as “off” times) and decreased time, when medicine is providing benefit for Parkinson’s symptoms such as impaired mobility, slowness and stiffness (known as “on” time.)

What to Know About Parkinson’s Disease Progression

What are signs of possible Parkinson’s disease progression? For many people with Parkinson’s disease, changes in motor symptoms can occur within 5 to 10 years of diagnosis. Over time with Parkinson’s, brain cells make less dopamine, a naturally occurring brain chemical that helps control the body’s movement. The stomach may also digest food and medicines differently due to a variety of factors including changes in the nervous systems of the gut and brain and this can interfere with medication absorption.

Symptoms during increased “off” times that may indicate Parkinson’s is progressing might include:

  • Tremor
  • Rigidity (resistance or stiffness to stretching in joints and muscles)
  • Slowness of movement

For those experiencing a progression in Parkinson’s disease symptoms, there are treatment options available. It’s important for people with Parkinson’s disease and caregivers to talk to their doctor and care team of healthcare professionals to determine the best treatment plan.

Moving Forward

If you or a loved one think that the disease might be progressing, know you are not alone. You can find Parkinson’s disease information, support, resources and a quiz designed to help you organize your thoughts before speaking with your doctor at

Because Parkinson’s disease may vary from person to person, it’s important for those with Parkinson’s and their family members to talk to their doctor about any symptoms they may experience. Only a doctor can diagnose and treat Parkinson’s disease.

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